Thursday, September 01, 2016


On September 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded the first major league baseball team in history comprised completely of African American and Latino players.  This team would go on to make similar World Series history.  It included several All-Stars and two future Hall of Fame players in Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell.  Also starting were Rennie Stennent, who was back in the news this year when Brandon Crawford matched his 7 hits in one game record, All-Star catcher Manny Sanguillen and pitcher Dock Ellis.

This was also the Pirates era of longevity.  Clemente and Bill Mazeroski were among the players who had starred 11 years before on the 1960 World Champion Pirates, and would again with this team.  Their manager was also the same: Danny Murtaugh.  Bill Virdon, center fielder for the 1960 champs, was a  Pirates coach in 1971.

This was the Pirates' 90th season, and their first away from Forbes Field--they'd inaugurated Three Rivers Stadium the previous July.  They beat the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship series and the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.  Roberto Clemente would be named the World Series MVP.


The San Francisco Giants begin their most important road trip of the season tonight in Chicago.  They begin 1.5 games out of first place, and only barely ahead in the Wild Card.  They split their home series with Arizona by winning Wednesday 4-2.

As beset by injuries as the Giants have been, the Dodgers have their continuing woes, especially among starting pitchers.  After losing the first game of their doubleheader at Colorado 7-0 on Wednesday, they were forced to string together bullpen pitchers for the second game when their announced starter continued to have blister issues.  Only a late offensive flurry saved them from losing both games, but the split kept them 1.5 games ahead of the Giants instead of .5.

The Giants are going to have to show such resilience in Chicago, Arizona and Colorado before they finish mostly at home.  The Cubs are one of the hottest second half teams, running away with their division.  The Giants...well, you know.

A bunch of roster additions today, including the return of Kelby Tomlinson from the DL.  Giants get a look at young phenom Ty Blach, left handed reliever.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Panik Attack

You buys your ticket, you takes your chances.  Folks who spent this Sunday at the ball park (as I did two weeks ago), got a really great day, and an historic one.

It was the San Francisco Giants biggest offensive game in the park's history.  They broke a record with three triples in one inning.  The Giants haven't had a game with four triples and four homers since 1900, and their opponents, the Atlanta club, haven't given up four triples in a game since the club was the Baltimore Bees.  One of those triples belonged to Brandon Crawford, his 21st, the most in SF Giants history.

Joe Panik led the way with two homers, his first multi-homer game.  Jarrett Parker had 4 RBIs, Nunez and Span homered.  With an 8 run outburst in the 7th inning, the Giants won 13-3, and most importantly, won the series against Atlanta--their first series win at home since the break.  Madison Bumgarner went 7 and got the win.  The Dodgers also won, so SF remains 2 back.

If that wasn't fun enough, it was Mike Krukow bobblehead day at the park--the popular Giants on-air commentator and a 20-game winner.  Before the game, the National Anthem was sung by three of his kids, in 3-part harmony.

Panik's return to form is a big booster.  And his home run rivalry with former third baseman Matt Duffy continues, as Duff went deep for his new club in Tampa Bay.

Nunez homered and made a spectacular play at third, and another damn good one to end the game.  People are still talking about Matt Moore's near no-hitter, and how calm he was when he lost it. That these new guys are showing character as well as contributing is a big boost, too. If the Giants truly recover this year, that win and today's will look like the start of something big.

But the Giants continue to deal with injuries.  Their brightest new addition to the bullpen, Derek Law, is on the 15-day DL with elbow strain, though it's not expected to need anything but rest.  Matt Cain is rehabbing, but that starting spot is still up in the air.  Fortunately Arizona comes in Tuesday, and once again the Giants have to take advantage of a lesser team before they head to Chicago.