Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trade Deadline Verdict

The MLB trade deadline officially came to a close today, marking the end of a frenzied period of wheeling and dealing that took over baseball for the last week and a half. And it's time to determine which NL West rival, Giants or Dodgers, made the better moves.

The Dodgers certainly made the bigger splash, acquiring 3B/SS Hanley Ramirez, OF Shane Victorino, and P Brandon League. League is an excellent addition to their bullpen, an area that has been mediocre as far as the Dodgers games that I've seen. Hanley is an excellent upgrade for the left side of the infield, where the Dodgers had not been getting much production out of. And Victorino is a good outfielder, although he's past his prime.

The Giants did not make as big a splash but they did acquire OF Hunter Pence and INF Marco Scutaro. Scutaro represents a nice substitute for Sandoval during Panda's current DL stint. And then, when Pablo returns, Scutaro and Crawford can alternate depending on whether the pitcher is a righty or lefty. Furthermore, Scutaro could be the answer in the leadoff spot, where Blanco and Pagan have struggled to get on base.

Monday, July 30, 2012

10 Things I've Learned from the First Weekend of the Olympics

The Olympics got underway in the wee morning hours of Saturday, so we're a full 3 days into the swing of things and it's been a lot of fun to watch. I've been watching sports that otherwise I would never be able to see, including handball, archery, and field hockey. Here are 10 things that I've learned from the first weekend of the Olympics:

  1. Archery is surprisingly entertaining. You would never think that watching people shoot at targets would be fun, but it actually is, especially in the team competitions. In the men's team archery competition final, the US and Italy were neck and neck for much of the match, the US finally losing by one point. I was on my heels, praying that the last Italian would get an 8, which would have given the US the victory. It was compelling.
  2. All gymnastics events are not created equal. The women's floor exercise is by far the least interesting and the uneven bars is by far the most. On the men's side, parallel bars is the most painful to watch because they keep bruising up their arms. I feel like telling them to stop hurting themselves. The rings are a display of pure strength and it is truly spectacular to see the men hold themselves up in that manner, with no rigid supports.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Introducing the Golden State Oracles...

After originally hearing about the idea that was floating around the NBA that would allow teams to have corporate sponsors advertise directly on team jerseys, my thought was, Yeah right, they'd never do that. But the truth is that the measure has been approved and we could be seeing sponsorships on NBA jerseys within the next couple of years. What's more, jerseys manufactured for retail to customers would also host this patch.

This is terrible news. Yes, sports is a business, but allowing corporate logos on jerseys is flat out desperation for revenue. It totally destroys the purity of a sports jerseys. It is utterly disgusting.

The patch itself is unobtrusive, but this small development in jersey sponsorships will undoubtedly lead toward jerseys without the team name, but rather the sponsor name, just like soccer. To those who've seen the Manchester City jersey before, nowhere on the jersey is the club name, only the name of the sponsor, Etihad. NBA team identity will vanish.

And then there's the issue of overhauling history. There have been so many great players on the Lakers and Celtics, all wearing iconic yellow-and-purple and green-and-white jerseys, and now you're telling me that Kobe Bryant will be wearing a jersey with Budweiser on the front and a tiny Lakers logo in the corner instead of vice-versa?! C'mon NBA!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Go All In, A's

The Giants-A's rivalry has always been a friendly one, unlike the Cubs-White Sox or Angels-Dodgers rivalries, which are full of enmity and hatred between fans of the opposing teams. Therefore, most Giants fans do not hate the Athletics. In fact, lately, in light of the A's recent struggles and the stagnant pace at which their move to San Jose is progressing, Giants fans kind of feel sorry for the A's and their fans.

I am not, of course, totally oblivious to the A's position this season. They are actually sort of good. In a competitive AL wild card race, they're only 1.0 game back for the second wild card spot. Not bad for this point in the season.

So, Yesterday, I thought I'd take a look to see what the A's were all about. I watched the last couple of innings of the A's-Rangers game yesterday. And the A's emerged with a win, capped off by a walkoff homer by Brandon Hicks. Pretty nice, right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tim Lincecum

I wrote back in April after the Giants extended Matt Cain's contract that I would take Matt Cain over Tim Lincecum any day of the week. And after the first half of the season, both pitchers have made me look like a genius. Lincecum currently is 98th out of 101 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues in ERA with an ERA of 5.93 and is allowing 4.39 walks per 9 innings, 93rd out of 101. Meanwhile, Cain was the All-Star game starter for the NL and has the third best WHIP in the league, at 0.96, compared to Lincecum's 1.52, 96th in the league.

I don't want to bash on Timmy too much because, like all Giants' fans, I want him to bounce back. If Lincecum was to undergo a resurgence, the Giants would be the prohibitive favorite in the NL West and could just as well rank as one of the top teams in all of baseball.

Lincecum's start against the Astros on Saturday was a tremendous first step, a first step in which he went 8 innings, only gave up 5 hits, and struck out 11. But most importantly, he only gave up one walk, which hopefully is indicative that his control is coming back. Of course, he didn't get the decision because of a poor ninth inning by Santiago Casilla (the closer situation for the Giants is another huge issue) and rookie catcher Hector Sanchez, but the point is that Lincecum pitched with control, used pitches economically, and went deep into a game whilst giving up no runs. If Lincecum can perform somewhere around this level for the rest of the season, the Giants may very well make a deep playoff run reminiscent of 2010. But you also have to remember that this excellent performance came against the Astros, who many would call the worst team in baseball.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Throwback Unis

I'm watching the Giants-Nationals game right now and I'm thinking off turning it off because of the hideous throwbacks.

Just kidding, I would never turn off a Giants game. But the uniforms are terrible. The red socks that are a part of the Giants' ensemble clash with the overall gray appearance of the rest of the uni. Furthermore, the white cap shines in stark contrast with the rest of the dull jersey. I don't understand it.

The Nats' jerseys are even worse. They seem totally devoid of color, like they've been bleached or something. the only lettering on the uni is a capital 'W' in what is quite possibly the most boring font ever.

Don't get me wrong, usually I love throwbacks. I cherish the Broncos' yellow and brown uniforms and I do enjoy the Eagles' yellow and blue jerseys. But, there is a line when it comes to baseball throwbacks. And the Giants and Nationals have crossed it.