Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Death and the Giants

Villalona. Photo by Tony Medina, courtesy San Jose GiantsNineteen-year-old Giants prospect Angel Villalona, a first baseman who hit .267 for the minor-league San Jose Giants this year, is the prime suspect in a killing last night in his home country of the Dominican Republic, the Associated Press and other news organizations reported today.

Villalona, a 2006 draft pick, turned himself in to police twelve hours after the killing of 25-year-old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete in a bar in the coastal city of La Romana. He could face up to twenty years in prison. Villalona, who had been ranked among the top 50 minor league prospects by MLB.com, had returned to the Dominican Republic to play winter-league baseball.

Meanwhile, the big club’s prospects for the postseason continued to fade as they dropped two out of three games in Los Angeles this weekend even as the team they’re chasing in the Wild Card standings, the Colorado Rockies, won two out of three. The Giants’ 6-2 loss to the Dodgers today (scoring summary) was painful for many reasons, but I think a new low for the season was reached when the Giants batted in the top of the fifth inning.

Trailing by a score of 4-1 on a hot day, 2008 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was clearly already exhausted. He had just suffered a long fourth inning in which the Dodgers had scored twice, and he badly needed a breather. As he was due up third in the inning, it was up to the usually ineffective hitters Ryan Garko and Aaron Rowand to, at the very least, extend their at-bats and give Timmy time to catch his breath. Instead, Lincecum hardly even had time to sit down before Garko popped out and Rowand struck out. Utterly gassed, Lincecum (14-6) grounded out quickly, then in the top of the inning walked the first two batters and was pulled from the game.

The Giants scored only one run the rest of the game, and were left to watch the scoreboard helplessly as the Rockies overcame a one-run deficit and overpowered the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants’ loss and the Rockies’ win puts the Giants four and a half games back with just 13 games remaining in the season.

Giants’ lefty Sanchez tosses no-hitter

jonathan_sanchez_victory_celebration_by_david_gallagher
Players mob pitcher Jonathan Sanchez after completion of his no-hitter. Flickr photo by David Gallagher

The Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez, a 27-year-old left-hander who had recently been demoted to the bullpen, threw a no-hitter tonight in a 8-0 win over the visiting San Diego Padres.

Sanchez was perfect into the 8th inning before third baseman Juan Uribe booted a ground ball. Ignoring the anomaly, Sanchez pitched a perfect 9th, assisted by a stunning play against the center field fence by Aaron Rowand for the second out. (See video of the catch.) Sanchez tossed his 11th stikeout of the game for the third out of the 9th. Box score.

Catching was backup receiver Eli Whiteside, a 29-year-old rookie who was in the game because regular catcher Benjie Molina was at the side of his wife, who was giving birth.

The Giants’ offense was led by fan favorite Pablo Sandoval, whose three-run home run in the 5th was hit to the deepest part of the right-center field arcade.

Sanchez, who was demoted to the bullpen two weeks ago after a 2-8 start to the season, made the start only as a replacement for injured pitcher Randy Johnson.

Giants on sale

Perhaps frightened by the acres of empty seats at San Diego’s Petco Park this week, the Giants are selling half-price tickets to some of next week’s homestand through the Travelzoo website. Click this link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/ticketing/supergroup.jsp?group=travelzoo and enter the coupon code MAY to get the discount on games of May 25, 26, 27, and 29 — including the day game on Monday, May 25, Memorial Day. However, they add their fees onto the order, so check the total before you pay.

Hot stove report: Giants past and present

The Giants announced yesterday they have re-signed relief pitcher Jack Taschner to a one-year contract.

As Giants fans know, the team picked up two interesting free agents over the winter: infielder Edgar Renteria and pitcher Randy Johnson. While Renteria is a typical free-agent signing — a well-known player who may have two or three years left in him — Johnson is more intriguing. The 295 game winner may be 45 years old, but he won 11 games last year and, as many have pointed out, just having him on the roster means there are four or five games the Giants won’t lose this year, as he invariably beat them when pitching for the Diamondbacks.

With the addition of Johnson, the team is still looking for a big bat.

Speaking of veterans:

Farewell, Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel, the magically graceful shortstop employed by the Giants for the last four seasons, has turned his last double play for the team, General Manager Brian Sabean said in an extensive interview Monday with reporters. Asked about the future of the 41-year-old eleven-time Gold Glove winner, Sabean said the chances of Vizquel returning to the team were “zero.”

Vizquel’s last at-bat in Sunday’s final game was a satisfying slap hit, raising his career total to 2,657. The rennaissance man and well-known dandy — who also dances, sings, and paints — broke the record this year for most games ever played at the shortstop position, finishing with 2,680.

The Giants are transitioning to a more youthful team, moving from 2006, when they had the oldest lineup in the league, to this year when they had 18 rookies make their major league debut with the team, including 23-year-old Emmanuel Burriss, who is slated to take over Vizquel’s position.

Vizquel will be fondly remembered by Giants fans, who gave him a long standing ovation and curtain call Sunday when he was removed from the game after taking the field in the top of the fifth inning. He is even more revered in Cleveland, where he played eleven seasons, leading the Indians to a World Series championship. When the Giants played the Indians there this year, it was Vizquel’s first return in another uniform, and he was given a highlight tribute and several long ovations.

Vizquel has said he wants to continue playing — if not in the U.S. next year, perhaps in Japan.

J.T. Snow re-signed for one day so he can retire as a Giant

Former Giants All Star first baseman J.T. Snow — seen at left during 2005, his last season with the Giants — has signed a one-day contract with the team so he can retire as a Giant.

Most recently, Snow has been a part-time broadcaster, part-time coach for the Giants, for whom he played from 1997 to 2005. A free agent in 2006, he signed with the Boston Red Sox but played little and announced his retirement during the 2006 winter meetings.

Rumors that the Giants’ “major announcement regarding J.T. Snow” meant him being named as team manager, or anything else, proved false.

Rennaissance man Vizquel’s paintings to show

Courtesy the Extra Baggs blog by San Jose Mercury News sportswriter Andrew Baggerly comes this news: Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel — known, among other things, as a musician, snazzy dresser, and above all, a miracle-worker at shortstop — is also an accomplished painter, with a show opening tomorrow at the Caldwell Snyder Gallery, 341 Sutter St.

Click the thumbnail image to go to a page where you can see Vizquel’s paintings, which show an impressive touch.

Fans of Vizquel’s work in a baseball uniform may have only a few days left to see him exhibit his skills on the field. Though he has the most hits (2369 at this writing) of any active player, he’s been hitting under .200 all season long, and many are saying his playing days are numbered. But the 11-time Gold Glove winner still makes amazing plays at shortstop, exhibiting the unearthly grace and composure of a great dancer.

Bay Area Olympian of the week

That’s the Giants’ Nate Schierholz — born in Reno but schooled in baseball at San Ramon Valley High and at Chabot College in Hayward — kicking the ass of China’s catcher Yang Yang in yesterday’s Olympics win by the US team over China. Schierholtz has labored all year in the minor leagues — though he’s likely to be called up at the end of the month when rosters expand — but today baseball fans all over the country know he plays hard.

The hard play at the plate came in a game when China pitchers hit three US batters, including Schierholtz.

A’s Offering Cheap All You Can Eat Seats

With the combination of the sad steroids scandal shadowing baseball, and economic hard times bringing attendance down, Bud Selig and his boys have got a hard sell on their hands.

Leave it to “America’s Pastime” to pull through in a pinch, and in a country where half of all people are overweight, ya gotta keep fans fat & happy, so the teams are going all out this year…

The bloated innards of Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum will be filled with happy gorging bleacher bums this summer as the soon to be Fremont A’s offer up their take on the latest “innovative marketing” idea to hit MLB.

Hey corndog fans, have you ever craved “All You Can Eat” seating sections ?

Apparently the LA Dodgers started this ploy off a couple years ago, and it’s all the rage, with Nascar & Hockey Teams now doing it as well. Be amongst the first in the Bay Area to enjoy this symptom of our societal sickness, and an obsequious toast to obesity…

I know previous dollar hot dog nights in Oakland have long been an insanely popular tribute to the Bay Area’s reputation for gustatory excellence & impeccable taste, and if they throw in those nasty Nachos & bottomless Mountain Dews… now yer talking.

If you’d be interested in trying this out in April and filling your belly with an endless feast of soda pop, ice cream, franks and other ballpark cuisine health hazards, I’ve got discounted ticket code info below.

To purchase discount All-You-Can-Eat seats: visit www.oaklandathletics.com and select one of the below listed games, and enter the coupon code: EATS

This will get you in for just $20 each (instead of the usual $35) to enjoy your privileged feasting section at the following select games in April…

Saturday, April 5 vs. Cleveland @ 1:05PM
Friday, April 18 vs. Kansas City @ 7:05PM
Tuesday, April 22 vs. Minnesota @ 7:05PM

Order the tickets online, then get on Bart & get yer butt down to 7000 Coliseum Way in Oakland…

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