The four best words we’ve heard all winter…

“Pitchers and catchers report.”

It may just be for long-toss and wind sprints, but that’s not the point. Baseball is back. Players are out of the field and the 2012 season is under way.

The big story, of course, is how the team recovers from the injury parade that was 2012. Posey, Wilson and Sanchez will be the big names, but we also have a healthy Sandoval and Belt to keep an eye on, while an in-shape Aubrey Huff and a suddenly-taken-seriously Bret Pill will be looking out. Hopefully we’ll see the team not only healthier, but a lot wiser and more poised to handle success.

But enough of that. Pitchers and catchers are reporting, and for now that’s all that matters.

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96 Responses to The four best words we’ve heard all winter…

  1. xoot says:

    Spring is here. Every detail about this year’s camp will be important. I listened to as much ST on the radio as I could last year, and I’ll probably be on it again. Jon Miller and Mike Krukow were a great combination. Krukow is really loose during ST, and Miller really enjoys working with him. They find ways to make late third-string late innings funny, and the wealth of information they offer about the team, what’s happening, what’s going to happen, etc., is good, too. Can’t wait.

    • If you get the MLB At Bat app for your phone you can listen to all the games, even the ones KNBR doesn’t cover during the week. It’s a great way to pass the day at work if you can listen do your job with headphones on 🙂

      • JDR says:

        I second that. Even during the season it can be cool to tune into the other radio feeds and hear guys like Uecker and Scully broadcast games.

  2. filthychangeup says:

    MLB AT BAT is awesome and well worth whatever price.

    • Chico says:

      My blackberry took a dump so I’m getting a “smart phone” tomorrow. Any suggestions? i phone vs a droid? Technology is not my strong suit.

      • I think some android phones are probably better than iphone but there are so many choices it’s overwhelming. There’s only one iphone to choose from…

        • Chico says:

          Thanks for the info! I’ll do some research tonight. After reading about where the Iphone is made and the conditions the workers are under, I’m leaning towards an android. But then again, they probably have similar working conditions. 18$ a day for 16 hour shifts!

          • JDR says:

            The company that assembles iPhones also contracts with just about every other PC and phone maker for one job or another.

          • xoot says:

            I’ve been using a droid for a couple of years; my kids like the iphone. I think they’re both good. But damn, the batteries run down fast.

          • mailorderwife says:

            I’m the broken phone Queen, and have used a Droid HTC Incredible, a Droid Bionic and a Galaxy Nexus (present one). Of all, the Nexus has been the best, although the battery life really sucks once I hit a 4G zone. I’m going to assume all of the Bay Area is 4G, so be wary. My Bionic was major FAIL, as I would have to reboot it at least 4x a day. The HTC Incredbile was a fantastic phone, but I lost it somewhere :<

            My husband uses an iPhone with his job. They've given him the best model of iPhone, and he HATES it. There ya go.

  3. Chico says:

    FilthyChangeup… He’s baiting you into replying to his comments so he can have your comment deleted and have you eventually blocked after so many deletions. Don’t let the fuck-face win. If you do reply to his comments, don’t even use a word like idiot, troll etc because he can report it as a personal attack (and even make things up on the abuse message thing) even if it wasn’t a personal attack because NOBODY fucking reads what they are censoring up there in Canada. He’s gotten 5 of your comments today alone.

  4. shaman138 says:

    It looks like slats has been silently lurking here, reading our comments and then copying and pasting them over on the Dumbeat along with the link to this site, inviting his fellow A’sshole fans to be silent stalkers on this blog as well. That’s his apparent way of “calling out the Giants’ trolls” or something, forgetting that he and his fellow A’sshole fans are on the Splash all the time spewing their irrelevant troll shit.

    • mailorderwife says:

      Ahhh…the class tattletale.

      Well, they are welcome to post here. Of course, there is no board monitor to tattle to for imaginary offenses, and we are free to let loose our venom.

      Then again, with a season of Manny Ramirez, Bartolo Colon and members of the local little league team, there isn’t much to do other than to harass a bunch of Giants fans talking about Droids and baseball on a blog.

    • xoot says:

      Signing Manny was an absurd move. The guy was once a great hitter, absolutely great. He’s not, now; he’s probably not washed up yet, but without PEDs he is in serious decline. More important, personally and professionally he is a liability in the clubhouse. This is the guy who couldn’t remember which knee was injured when he wanted to take himself out of the Red Sox lineup to avoid facing certain pitchers. The guy who turned up positive during the infamous testing attack of 2003, didn’t get caught, but then, in a complete wast of good fortune, turned up positive again 7, 8 years later.

      My favorite Manny moment was PS 2007. He smashed an opposite field drive off the top of the wall in right-center and slowed into a HR trot around first, assuming the ball had cleared the yellow line. He noticed that no ump was circling a finger in the air. He stopped running — just stopped dead about 1/4 of the way to second base and started arguing with the 1st base ump, who had busted into the IF to follow the play. He had hit the ball so hard, after it bounced off the wall it zoomed between the RF and CF toward second base, bounding on the grass while Manny argued. He finally saw that he could be thrown out, and barely made it back to first, diving. He blew an easy triple to try to argue his own, individual case, in the middle of a tight PS game. A more unreliable player will be tough for Wolff and Beane to find.

      • unca_chuck says:

        You really have to wonder why Beane trades his young stud pitching staff, then goes and spends a shitload of money on Yoenis Cespedes (untested), Bartolo Colon (washout), and Manny Ramirez (damaged goods, wing-nut). Willingham had a great year there, and would have been better, cheaper, and a MUCH better clubhouse presence.

        Maybe this is their reaction to the news that the 49ers are now breaking ground on THEIR new stadium while they toil away in the Masoleum. Or is it the Moneyball movie backlash? Billy thinks he’s Brad Pitt, and every move he makes turns to gold? Weird.

        I understood Billy gutting the team, but to sign the guys he did is baffling. He might as well have promoted the entire AAA and let them play, for all the difference those 3 guys will make.

        • mailorderwife says:

          I heard that Cespedes was a luxury tax thing since the A’s had to spend some money.

          Otherwise, their off season moves have been absurd, right out of “Major League”. I hope there is a life sized cardboard nudie cutout of Lew Wolff to inspire the A’s to finish with at least fifty wins.

          In all this, I feel sorry for Dallas Braeden. He is a good guy. Maybe he’ll want to come over to our side!

          • unca_chuck says:

            Ahh, they had to spend some money to reach the floor? Classic. Wolff is making Chris Cohan look like a genius. Both those guys are in the running for the ‘Donald Stirling Worst Ownership in the History of Professional Sports’ award. What’s even sillier is they share the same parking lot (yeah, I know, Cohan’s gone. His stench still wafts through the area though) . . .

          • unca_chuck says:

            Replace ‘Bidwill’ with ‘Stirling’ and you have the same deal . . .

      • lasttraintoyuma says:

        If I were an A’s fan, I wouldn’t have a huge problem with signing Manny on a minor league contract. It’s a very-low-risk, huge potential reward scenario for the A’s. I wouldn’t like seeing him as a Giant but it’s not a bad move for Beane and the A’s. Honestly.

        • unca_chuck says:

          In a vaccuum, sure. But what the hell does Braden think? Or Suzuki? Or the rest of the guys? I’m with MOW. A valued teammate like Willingham is tossed aside, and the pitching staff is gutted while they spend too much dough on an unknown entity, a fat washed-up pitcher, and a 2 time loser in the steroid game? What in the wide wide world of spiorts is going on here?

          • mailorderwife says:

            Blazing Saddles!!

          • lasttraintoyuma says:

            Yes, that is exactly how I meant it, Unca. The Manny move on its own is a reasonable gamble for the A’s. The other moves this offseason are head-scratchers unless the A’s really do get the green light to move to San Jose. Without that green light, I think they undertook their latest “rebuilding” effort prematurely.

  5. mailorderwife says:

    So Angel Villalona was acquitted or ever tried? Charges dropped because of mas peso? Or was he deemed innocent? I imagine Jeremy Affeldt going into preaching overdrive with him.

    • unca_chuck says:

      He was cleared of charges, he dropped his $5 million lawsuit against the Giants, but is having visa problems due to unknown circumstances.

      There’s speculation that he’s out of shape, and therefore too fat to be considered an ‘athlete’ and therefore doesn’t qualify for the visa, but who really knows? Sounds like bullshit to me. . .

      • unca_chuck says:

        ‘Cleared’ meaning he paid off the victim’s family to the tune of something like $140,000 and the case was dismissed.

        However, in the DR, this is no admission of anything. Trials there usually take about 27 years to resolve and the expeditious thing to do is settle.

      • mailorderwife says:

        Goodness. Are they comparing him to Timmy? You’ve got to be fat on the scale of Carny Wilson to be singled out as being out of shape for a sport that employs CC Sabbathia.

        I tried to read up on the charges, and it appears that our young player paid off the victim’s family. Not sure how I feel about that as I’m not a big eye-for-an-eye person.

        • unca_chuck says:

          That’s SOP in the DR. Trials there take YEARS to resolve.

          • unca_chuck says:

            Jose Uribe was accused of shit he paid off. Juan Cabrera (I think) also went through something similar. A murder charge that he paid off.

            • mailorderwife says:

              Ahh thanks. Sensing a pattern here. Thanks :>

              • Chico says:

                From what Chuck posted, I got a clearer picture of the whole thing. Jose Uribe? That sounds like one fucked up criminal justice system. That’s what makes this thing so strange, we don’t know if he did it or not, probably never will.

                • xoot says:

                  All criminal justice systems are fucked up, far as I can tell. You can be sure Villalona got accused because of who he is in the DR, just as surely as you can be sure he finally got off because of of who he is.

                  Crazy Ky/Miss St game tonight. Is #1 going to lose? Bunch of technicals called.

            • unca_chuck says:

              Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it though! Thing is, we’ll likely never know.

        • JDR says:

          He paid the family to settle the civil suit. The criminal charges were dropped months later.
          As far as him being out of shape, who knows. He always was a big kid and not being able to get out on the diamond for a couple years no doubt added to that. He’s not going to sniff anything higher than Richmond this season, so it won’t impact the big club either way.

  6. sandy32koufax says:

    Alas poor Sl_ts, I knew him well…

    • Chico says:

      What’s up man? Long time no see! I see that slats got blocked and my comments were removed because I made a couple of comments asking a person who I used to blog with why his previous account was blocked. WTF?? I don’t agree with slats being blocked nor do I agree with mine, or anyone else’s comments being removed by the troll known as WBB. The censorship on that site blows! I’m sure that’s one thing slats and I can agree on. It’s fucked up.

      • mailorderwife says:

        Why can’t Slats just bring his friends and come here instead of running back to the SFGate? Healthy banter is a good thing, and not having VK stepping in every single second to exercise his inability to board monitor doesn’t help the situation. JD is far better at keeping things healthy than VK, who is probably getting paid $28k for his troubles. All the more reason to be mad!

      • Chico says:

        Gimme a ring bro re. the latest news on the new nest 😉 I’m stoked for you.

        • Chico says:

          Agreed MOB! My post above was a quasi-invite, but we didn’t get a bite.

          • sandy32koufax says:

            Hey Chico, mucho trabajo en mi rancho!

            Clearing the land has been the biggest challenge as haven’t the money to buy a tractor nor hire help to assist. We’ve looked into ‘intern programs’ but thus far have not been successful in finding available ag or landscape students.

            We have chickens and goats now and are preparing our beds for planting. We’re going to plant ‘crops’ that do well in this area and have installed some rain cisterns to store much needed (and expensive) water. After the crops go in, I have to build a pen for quail!

            As for Sl_ts, dude CLAIMS to want to peacefully co-exist yet is determined to maintain a belligerent posture and continues to post aggressive comments…I’m not sorry in the least that his acct was deled since he has no sense of propriety.

            Howdy “Socal Babe”

            • mailorderwife says:

              SFDF…sorry for not saying bye when I spoke to you last. System went down so I went home :< Seems that all is well for you. I am jealous that you have a goat! I have a new puppy, though.

          • xoot says:

            Over on the splash, RIP Evan C.

  7. xoot says:

    sl_ts and I got into it on the dumbeat one night after he posted what he believed to be my personal information. He’d picked it up from some of WBB’s posts. I have no problem co-existing with him, however.

  8. lasttraintoyuma says:

    Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list is out. Only one Giant is included – Gary Brown at #38, which seems about right. Dodgers have 3 players, none higher than Zach Lee, the 20 YO RHP at #62. Allen Webster and Nate Eovaldi, two other RHPs are at #94 and #95, respectively.

    As a Giants fan, would you rather have one guy at #38 or three guys no higher than #62? Having only one guy in the top 100 makes the Carlos Beltran trade sting a litle bit. Especially with Wheeler sitting at #35.

    The D’Backs are stacked with three top 25 prospects. Pitchers Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs at #9 and 11 with an ETA of 2012. Pitcher Archie Bradley and 3B/1B Matt Davidson at #25 and #97.

    The Padres have the most players on the list of the NL West teams, occupying spots 33, 49, 53, 76, 78 and 98. The Rockies have a respectable showing at spots 30, 42, 86 and 87.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Prospects are just that. Panda I don’t think ever garnered a rating in the top 100. What ever happened to Tim Alderson? He of the high rating in the Giants system? He’s toiling away in single A Bradenton for the Pirates.

    • unca_chuck says:

      But you are right, the Giants farm system is looking a little threadbare. . . .

    • xoot says:

      Belt and Pill were “grade C” in 2010, lucky to make it into the Giants’ top 100. Brown has always rated pretty high. We should see him this year.

    • lasttraintoyuma says:

      Yeah chuck, prospects are no guarantee. But that’s why I’d rather see four of them in the top 100 than one. I really like that Brown fills a position of need and that Sabean has not blocked his ability to start for the club in 2013. The Giants have so much promising talent just outside the top 100 at the hard-to-fill position of catcher. I could see them deciding which one is going to replace/back up Posey and using the others as trade bait.

      Xoot, I think you’re right – if Brown has a good season in the minors, we’ll see him called up in September. Can’t wait to see him take the field. The video I’ve seen of him has been impressive.

  9. gerbik says:

    Article about Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox in Spring Training.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Bobby-Valentine-brings-new-energy-to-Boston-Red-Sox-022112

    On having his pitchers take BP:

    “He explains later, reflecting back to the second inning of Game 6 of the World Series, when the Cardinals executed the wheel play and Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis bunted into a double play.
    “I felt the American League lost the world championship because they didn’t have a slash play,” Valentine says.”

    • Chico says:

      Great article gerbik! I enjoyed reading that. Thanks for posting.

    • lasttraintoyuma says:

      I really enjoyed Decker’s comments. You can really tell why the organization is so hot on him.

    • unca_chuck says:

      The real issue is they have no one better to put at SS. Sure, he’s an 8 hitter (or 7, or whatever), but his numbers were very bad last season. And saying Crawford wasn’t overmatched is a little weird seeing as he batted himself out of the lineup. Yeah, he’s young and there’s rom to grow/improve/yadda yadda yadda. But the only numbers we have to work with at this point are .206 avg, .288 obp, .296 slg. Sure, he’ll improve, but enough to stop all the questions? We’ll see.

      Sure, he has the right attitude, but not being overmatched and hitting in the low .200s isn’t cutting it.

      • lasttraintoyuma says:

        I’m not worrying overly much about Crawford’s numbers from last year at this point, considering the terrible BABIP. If his BABIP comes anywhere near league average, that would fuel a significant increase in his OBP, which would put him squarely in the “useful” range when you take his excellent glove into account. His ceiling isn’t All-Star, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s where Posey, Sandoval and Belt come in. Personally, I don’t mind carrying a guy like him on the team but that OBP is going to have rise considerably or he’s not going to be a valuable hitter even in the 8th spot. Two guaranteed outs in a row are killers in a division filled with excellent pitching.

        • unca_chuck says:

          Well, that’s the point. The article says all these wonderful things about Crawford based on nothing but the hope for pretty significant improvement. And his obp doesn’t really concern me becuase he will get walks batting 8th. He has to get on base by hitting.

  10. xoot says:

    Ryan Braun just won his steriod-suspension appeal.

    • Chico says:

      “It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less,” Manfred said. “As a part of our drug testing program, the commissioner’s office and the players’ association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7608360/ryan-braun-wins-appeal-50-game-suspension

      Strange.

      • unca_chuck says:

        So, putting a urine sample into the fridge for a few hours ups the testoterone levels by 10x?

        Got it. Why didn’t Barry think of that?

        The Norge defense . . .

      • unca_chuck says:

        Bonds gets hounded for 8 years on supposedly inadmissable grand jury testimony, and Braun escapes (and doesn’t even question) a positive test result because the sample sits in a fridge for a couple hours?

        Is it just a coincidence that 80% of the ownership group that owns the Brewers were there under Bud and Wendy?

        • xoot says:

          Not inadmissible, confidential. The testimony was supposed to remain sealed. No one would’ve known about Bonds’s testimony during the BALCO prosecution, so there would have been no reason to go after him, to make him some sort of “example.” Once the unethical lawyer leaked the transcripts and the Chronicle published them, the feds felt called out, I guess.

          Who knows how the Braun evidence mishandling plays into the whole story. I remember reading early on that his defense would be that he had permission to use roids during his injury rehab. Perhaps mishandling the evidence could relate to exaggerated test results for what might have been permissible residual roids in his system. Who knows. I guarantee you the chain of custody issue was more complicated than just missing a fedex drop off. You get to cross examine witnesses in most arbitration proceedings . . . .

          • xoot says:

            I suppose. Given the systems they have for sealing against tampering and so forth, the regular fedex system may be ok. I’ve never had to deal with such stuff. About 20 years ago, while I was standing in line in the Houston airport I noticed a strange ice-pack box sitting down the way, on the airline counter, with no one near it. The barely discernible warning label said: “Perishable. Human eyeballs.”

        • JDR says:

          I’m less concerned about Braun getting off the hook than I am the fact that Major League Baseball is hinging its drug program on the local Kinko’s.

  11. Chico says:

    Legal question here. I was scheduled for Jury duty tomorrow, and now I’ve been placed on telephone stand-by which means that I might have to report in the afternoon, which I can’t do. Are we talking about a warrant, or is that a myth?

    • gerbik says:

      I really don’t know about the penalty for not showing up, but I was in the same situation recently and when I called in the morning there was a recording saying they didn’t need anyone to report for the afternoon.

    • sandy32koufax says:

      I understand that all you need to do is leave a message stating you are unavailable on their vmail if you cannot reach a live person. They will then reschedule you for JD at a later date…

      (that’ll be 4 hrs of labor on the farm for the legal advice;>)

    • JDR says:

      What I’ve heard is that because they don’t use certified mail, they have no real way to verify whether you actually received the summons and thus don’t really bother to pursue such cases.

      /not a lawyer
      //will probably get handcuffed in front of my girlfriend’s family for jury evasion.

      • Chico says:

        Just got off the phone with my older brother who said “I’ve been throwing that shit in the garbage since the late ’80s, never had a problem”. . . He also doesn’t vote so its clear that he doesn’t take his civic duty seriously. Thanks for the replies, I’ll try to find a number that has a voice mail and go that route, if not, then I’m a rebel on the run like these guys http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQMBz6HvSoM

        And JDR. You only live once!

        • xoot says:

          I think enforcement varies from county to county. I can’t imagine any county these days wasting time and money tracking down people who got too busy to report to jury duty. What you wouldn’t want would be to show up the next time you get a summons and find them waiting for you with some sort of citation related to the time you didn’t show. If you get called and can’t go, maybe let some time go by and then check the court’s website or call someone to find out what’s likely to happen, or what you can do. You won’t have to tell them who you are and you may find out whether there’s any fallout.

          • gerbik says:

            My understanding is they issue a bench warrant, which I guess will show up if you ever get pulled over for a traffic stop or something. And then they could bring you in… that would make for a pretty shitty day.

            • Chico says:

              Yeah, that would suck! I made arrangements so I could make it, just in case I am summoned (pain in the ass). You can tell its the off-season when posts are coming in about me and jury duty. I’m not a “me, Look at me” person but I appreciate the replies 😉

              • mailorderwife says:

                I had a warrant out for me while I was still a San Francisco resident, then received another for failing to show up for jury duty in LA. In both instances, I was never jailed, even after being pulled over for a variety of tickets (in Reagan country, they are serious about their 40 mph limit). I’m pretty sure that with the lack of funds in local governments, these sort of offenses rank very low on the totem pole.

    • shaman138 says:

      Normally, you should be able to call in the morning yourself and find out if they need you, and since they didn’t serve you or send you a cert./RR mail they have no way to verify if you ever even received the summons….but it is different for each county. I used to get hit with jury duty all the time in San Mateo Co. and have to piss away an entire workday because I worked in SF and had to go to RWC for that crap….since I moved to SF co. I haven’t gotten hit with it once and it’s been over six years. I could be wrong, though, but I always fight bullshit when I know it’s bullshit, especially the bullshit Muni “fare evasion” ticket I’m fighting right now….they had the nerve to swoop in on me with three “fare inspectors” and two cops after the idiot N Judah took me almost two hours to get to work and my Clipper card had expired after the 90 min. transfer period. Fucking thieves! But I digress…

  12. shaman138 says:

    And I read the article about Braun…does anyone else think the whole “forgot to take the sample to FedEx/Kinkos and kept it at home instead” line seem extremely shady? And does anyone else think such a serious process of steroid testing involving sending samples via FedEx seem shady in and of itself?

    • Chico says:

      MLB (Selig) has egg on its face IMO. The whole situation is fucked up.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Well, whatever the deal was, the fact that the supposedly stringent testing done by the facility in Montreal was put in the hands of some flunky courier dude who took the sample home with him is laughable in its stupidity. Regardless of Braun’s innocence, this kinda hurts the credibility of the process.

  13. xoot says:

    I would love to be there when he asks Billy Beane where the Moneyball guy is — because his kids want to meet him.

  14. Chico says:

    WBB spotting. Gnatsrock

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