What a road trip!

Even though it is only 5-5, it has been a good ride so far, though again the Giants face a gaunlet of good to great starting pitchers at St. Louis: Carpenter (17-4, 2.25 ERA, 0.98 WHIP), Morris (12-5, 3.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), Suppan (12-8, 4.04 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). However, despite their offensive shortfalls, they have been playing good pitchers to a standstill and beating the bad team (Cincinnati actually had a 33-29 home record before the Giants came in, so they weren't really THAT bad), so is it a bad offense or just good pitching they've been facing, lately?

Pettitte, Oswalt, Clemens (home games), Willis, Beckett, Burnett, now Carpenter, Morris, Suppan, on the road.

Winn has really revitalized the offense since coming on board and Linden has been providing about the same as what Alou was doing prior to that: good hitting but for little power. I heard they might DL Alfonzo for a neck problem when Alou comes back, which would fix their problem about what to do with Linden: Feliz would play 3B while Linden, Winn, and Alou would man the outfield.

After St. Looie, they get a nice stretch at home (which thus far has not been good for the team) against Philadelphia, the Mets (who are missing Cameron and Beltran from their lineup), and Colorado to close the month of August. This is probably do or die time for the Giants if they are to make any move to the top of the division, unless the other teams persist in falling back to them. They are only 2 games from LA, and 3 from Arizona. They would need to catch up with them by the end of the home stand (as well as gain that ground on SD) to have any chance to win the division.

Or they would have to beat up (somehow) the NL teams the rest of the season as they still have 6 games left with the D-gers and the D-backs and 7 games with the 'Dres. Sweeps of at least one of these total set of games would be necessary in that case but the odds are still long. But you never know, there have been teams that played so badly that they let the other teams back into the race and so far they've allowed the Giants to get close, tantalizingly close. And SD is suffering from one major injury after another, losing Khalil Greene for the season, after losing Ramon Hernandez, plus trading away Nevin.


Q&A with Steve Shelby on Future Forty list for July

BGF: Hey, if we just got the Future Forty for July, so of course we got our questions. Thanks Steve for agreeing to answer some questions.

SS: I do realize now that I inadvertently omitted Mike Mooney and Pablo Sandoval from the list. I wish I had included them instead of the final two names on the list (RHP Nick Pereira and RHP Jesse Floyd).

BGF: OK, I will edit the list to reflect that change. So, starting off, what was it about the new comers to the list, Ben Copeland and Daniel Griffin, that gained your attention and a place on the Future Forty?

SS: I don't know that we have much to go on other than the scouting reports we had when they were drafted. I basically slotted them in about where I think 4th and 5th round picks would conservatively rate (i.e., Copeland just a bit below last year's 4th round pick Clay Timpner but Griffin a bit ahead of Broshuis after Broshuis's struggles this year).

BGF: Brian Wilson is one guy I've been wanting to ask about since I'm a Beach Boy fan. :^) What are your thoughts on him?

SS: I have yet to see what I would consider an updated and reliable scouting report for Wilson. I heard anecdotally that he was throwing a mid-90s fastball this year. He must be doing something right the way he continues to dominate double-A hitters. He may very well deserve to rate several spots higher than I have him.

BGF: "Wouldn't it be nice..." :^) What happened to Justin Hedrick? What has gone wrong with him?

SS: I do think Hedrick has generally been less impressive as the season has worn on, but I don't know anything "has gone wrong." Realistically speaking, a lot of 6th round draft choices never make a major league impact. I still think Hedrick is approximately on pace to become a middle reliever at the major league level.

BGF: Yes, but he dropped a number of spots so I was just wondering if there was anything specific he did that caused it. Sounds like he has not progressed as expected. What happened to Fred Lewis? He seems to have sputtered this year.

SS: I wish I knew. I imagine that the Giants wish they knew exactly. Whatever it was, though, Lewis has been playing much better the past month.

BGF: Well hopefully Lewis can end the season with a bang and carry it over into next year. Ortmeier seems to be doing good now, after a slow start, with 19 homers, 30 SB, .839 OPS, what are your thoughts on him right now, does he go to AAA next season if Linden becomes the 4th OF?

SS: I would think that Ortmeier has shown that he should be in Triple-A next year no matter where Linden is next year. Ortmeier has had a nice season, but I don't think he has hit enough to project as an everyday player in the majors. Adam Shabala spent two years at Double-A and still made it to the majors. I think that we can expect at least as much from Ortmeier.

BGF: Good point, and Shabala never even showed much at AA whereas Ortmeier has. I guess I was just wondering if the OF logjam would keep Ortmeier out of AAA. Just noticed that Whitaker is our #3 pitching prospect, so what do you think he needs to make the majors and what are you hoping he becomes at the major league level?

SS: The one thing Whitaker has to do is consistently command his pitches, both his fastball and his off-speed pitches. If he can consistently command all of them, I think he still projects as a starter, unless some concerns about his durability have developed this year. If he can command at least his fastball, then he projects as a power reliever.

BGF: Well that's good either way, the Giants could use either. What's up with Misch, he was tracking better than Lowry career-wise but hit the wall this year in AAA, unlike Lowry, who burst into the majors at this stage of his career. He's doing well now that he's back in AA, but what now?

SS: This seems like a lost year for Misch. I would anticipate that he gets another shot at Triple-A next year. Maybe his confidence will be restored then. I would note that a year ago fellow lefty Jack Taschner was shelled with Fresno for an ERA around 9.00, and then he put things together this year.

BGF: That's true, and Taschner even got a call-up too and did OK in an extended stay. Lastly, given our current need for, and our probable need in 2006 for, starters, how close is Merkin Valdez to making the majors?

SS: I don't see Valdez as being any closer to the majors in terms of being a starter. But a year ago, I might have said the same thing about Hennessey. If the Giants decide that Valdez's future is as a reliever, he may make it to the majors rather quickly, possibly before mid-season next year.

BGF: That's too bad but he's still young so there's still time. Thanks again for the discussion and take care, you are always very informative about the Giants farm system.

SS: You're welcome. I am actually not sure how well-informed I am at the moment as I am well-behind in my reading of Baseball America, and I fear that something above has been addressed within the last couple issues there.

BGF: Good enough for me! Good enough for a lot of other Giants fans as well.


Rueter gets his desired release and get sent to his shed

But he did not go silently in the night. He marred the ending of his stint with the San Francisco Giants with complaining unbecoming of him, of the class he exuded throughout his career, about not being released earlier so that he could hook up with another team. But really, did he really think the Giants were going to just jettison him as easily as he hoped?

The Giants still owed him around $3M in salary at mid-season, which is about when he was hoping to be let go. If he really wanted to leave so badly, he could have just told the Giants to call it even and tear up the contract (though the players union would have done a spit-take on that one and killed it probably, but at least he would have tried). But no, the Giants still owed him mucho dinero, so they did what most teams would have done: keep him around just in case. Just in case another starter went down. Just in case the young pitchers suddenly couldn't find home plate anymore (or at least not as much as Rueter couldn't find home plate). Just in case Rueter suddenly figured it out

Come on, athletes, tune into reality! If you are 2-7 with double the walks than strikeouts, a 5.95 ERA, a 1.66 WHIP,

1) there aren't any teams willing to take on your salary,
2) there aren't any teams willing to give up even a marginal prospect for you, and
3) there aren't many team willing to have a pitcher with those stats starting for them, they would have to be desperate to the power of two (which the Yankees appear to be reaching recently, taking on Al Leiter after the stats he had with the Marlins, but at least he was dominant the past two seasons, Rueter hasn't done much of anything consistently good for 2 seasons now).

What a shame, to be so clueless, though I guess that is part of his competitiveness that I've always loved. I always wanted him to be the guy getting the ball when Dusty Baker had a choice to make in the last game and Baker, to his discredit, always went with another pitcher. In the series with NY Mets in 2000 and the World Series against the Angels, Rueter eventually came in, after the damage had been done, and shut down the other team. I will always believe that the results would have been different had Rueter started those games and perhaps the Giants would have had 1 or 2 World Series championships instead of bitter losses.

I find that a lot of people denigrate Rueter's accomplishments but, despite the poor last couple of seasons, he is 130-92 (.586) with an ERA of 4.27, WHIP of 1.39, for his career, among the leaders in wins and winning percentage of lefties in the 1990's and for his career span. That ain't shabby stuff.

Some say that any pitcher could have done that for the Giants because of their offense. But of all the Giants pitchers who pitched during that time, only Schmidt outdid him. Pitchers like Shawn Estes, Livan Hernandez, and Rus Ortiz could not outdo him despite his lack of velocity and stuff.

I would hear from people that any mediocre pitcher could have done that but the point to me is that HE did it, not some mythical mediocre pitcher that could maybe do it, he actually accomplished these feats. He should still get credit for taking advantage of the Giants offense, for taking advantage of the home park advantage, for taking advantage of what skills he did possess. He should get credit for the success he had because there are pitchers on good teams who still don't win at a .586 pace and he was consistently a winner throughout most of his Giants career until his last couple of seasons. Year in, year out, he consistently won, period. He might have a down year statistically, but in the win column, he always won more games than he lost for the Giants during his good years.

Thanks for all the great years, Rueter, you were a true Giant, wish you all the best.


SF Board of Supervisors Commend Felipe Alou stance against racist comments

Somebody working for the San Francisco Board of Supes e-mailed me the following so I thought I would post it:


Chris Daly, Gerardo Sandoval
Page 2

j:\daly\legislation\resolutions\alou reso.doc
[Commending Giants Manager Felipe Alou's Stance Against Racist Comments]

Resolution commending San Francisco Giants Manager Felipe Alou for his stance against racist comments of Larry Krueger on KNBR and advocacy for Latino players and the Latino community.

WHEREAS, Felipe Alou has spent close to 50 years playing and managing in Major League Baseball; and,

WHEREAS, Felipe Alou emigrated from his Caribbean country, the Dominican Republic in 1955 to join the San Francisco Giants system; and,

WHEREAS, In his early years of playing baseball in the minor leagues and with the Giants, Felipe Alou had to endure overt forms of discrimination and racism from fans and management alike; and,

WHEREAS, Despite this treatment Alou had several break out years, leading the league several hitting categories and becoming an All Star in 1962, 1966 and 1969; and,

WHEREAS, Felipe Alou has built on his successful playing career with over a decade of managing in the Major Leagues, making Manager of the Year in 1994, and showing great wisdom, dignity and perseverance that is admired throughout the United States and Latin America; and,

WHEREAS, The recent comments about the San Francisco Giants Caribbean ball players by KNBR talk show host Larry Krueger have been condemned far and wide as racial and ethnic slurs; and,

WHEREAS, Felipe Alou has used his power and notoriety to refuse Krueger's apology as insufficient to reverse the damage that his comments have created; and,

WHEREAS, Alou has used his office to denounce these comments at the local and national level and to raise the awareness of people across the country about the experience of Latino baseball players as well as all immigrant players and players of color; and,

WHEREAS, Such courageous outspokenness and use of position is vital to advancing the dignity of the Latino community and all communities that must endure racism and discrimination; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That San Francisco Board of Supervisors commends San Francisco Giants Manager Felipe Alou for his endurance as a player, his outspokenness as a manager and his stance on behalf of Latino, Caribbean-born San Francisco Giants and the Latino community they honor with their play.

John Avalos
Legislative Aide to Supervisor Chris Daly
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place Room 244
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-554-7970 phone
415-554-7974 fax
415-5227 TDD/TTY

Giants maybe getting desperate for fans

Been meaning to post this for over a week, but been occupied with the debate on racism; so here goes...

For many years, the Giants have advertised in the Chronicle a full page ad displaying info on the game of the day plus various interesting interviews. We South Bayers never got to see any of those as the Giants never deigned to advertise in the SJ Merc.

However, just a week or two ago, the Giants started doing the same advertising page in the Merc, a possible sign that they might be either having problems getting fans to show up for games or to re-up for their season ticket renewals. Or it could be a final marketing push to generate interest in the fading team in light of the need to get their largest block of potential renewals - from the 7 year charter season ticket holders - to re-up.

Either way, it is a sign from the Giants that it is not going to be a slamdunk for them to renew interest in the team and that they are trying to go all out to get people to come to the park in the years to come via renewals of season tickets or purchase of new season tickets.

There is another sign as well. The Giants used to have a Giants Dugout at the Valley Fair shopping mall which I enjoyed going to but when the mall remodeled, the location was taken over by a landbridge and the Giants thought enough of us South Bay fans to just shut the location and not re-open. However, they had second thoughts about it so they recently opened up a new store back at Valley Fair.