Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Man

I wrote this for some of my friends back in January when Stan Musial died but neglected to post it here. 

This is a link to a piece my favorite sports writer, Joe Posnanski, wrote about Stan Musial a couple of years ago that he reprinted on his blog on Musial’s birthday.  It’s a pretty awesome piece about a guy who is never in the conversation for best player ever, but has absurd lifetime stats.

Check this out, and remember – there are a bunch of pre-1900 guys in some of these categories.  Stats are from baseball-reference site: 

·         Batting Average 331, 30th all time, led the league 7 times, 2nd twice, 3rd 5 times, 4th twice and 5th once.  He hit .330 at the age of 42 in 1962.
·         On base % .417, 22nd all time, led the league 6 times, 2nd 7 times
·         Slugging % .559, 19th all time, led the league 6 times
·         On-base plus slugging .976, 13th all time, led the league 7 times, 2nd 3 times
·         Runs scored 1949, 9th all time, led the league 5 times, 2nd 4 times
·         Hits 3630, 4th all time, led the league 6 times, 2nd 3 times
·         Total bases 6134, 2nd all time behind Aaron, led the league 6 times, 13 times top 5
·         Doubles 725, 3rd all time behind Tris Speaker and Pete Rose, led the league 8 times, 2nd 3 times, 3rd twice
·         Triples 177, 19th all time, led the league 5 times (and he wasn’t fast).  Of the 18 guys ahead of him, the latest year anyone played a game was 1945, only 2 played a game after 1940, only about 4 played a game after 1930, and a bunch of the guys played in the 1800’s.  Willie Mays had only 140.  This is NOT a modern day statistic.
·         Homers 475, 28th all time (lots of steroid guys passed him), never led the league, though he was top 10 12 times.
·         RBIs 1951, 6th all time (behind Aaron, Ruth, Cap Anson, Bonds and Gehrig – A Rod is 1 behind him in 7th), led the league twice
·         Singles 2253, tied for 18th all time, led the league the league once.  A surprising number of modern players passed him, including Rose (1), Jeter (6), Carew (8), Gwynn (10), Molitor (11), Aaron (13), Yaz (17), and Boggs is tied with him.  In addition, get this one - #16 – Omar Vizquel!
·         Extra Base Hits 1377, 3rd all time behind only Aaron and Bonds.  He led the league 7 times.

Of course some of these lifetime records came from the fact that he played in the 6th most games and had the 8th most plate appearances. But the consistency and the averages are pretty unbelievable, a consistency only challenged in my mind by Lou Gehrig.

He won 3 MVP awards and finished 2nd 4 times. 

 He never struck out more than 46 times.    He struck out 696 times in 12,717 plate appearances and 10,972 official at bats.  Compare that to Derek Jeter, with a lifetime average of .313.  Jeter has never had less than 81 strikeouts, and has a total of 1,743 for his career.  Other than stolen bases, Jeter leads Musial in NO categories, though if he can last long enough he might pass him in hits and runs.  And Jeter is a sure first ballot HOFer.

 Check out his 1948 season -  376/450/702, OPS 1.152, 230 hits, 46 doubles, 18 triples, 39 homers, 103 Extra Base Hits (6th most all time), 131 RBIs, 135 runs, 7 steals (4 category player), total bases 429 (6th most all time).  He led the league in batting and RBIs, and missed the triple crown by 1 homer.

When he came up for the hall of fame in 1969, 23 voters out of 340 left him off the ballot.  WTF????

Baseball Reference has comparable players for everyone, but nobody is quite like him.  The closest is Yaz, followed by Ott, Mays, Winfield, Murray, Gehrig, Frank Robinson, Foxx, Palmeiro and Aaron, but the similarity scores are very low.  I think it is Musial’s combination of extreme career numbers combined with the breadth of the categories he was to good at as well as the consistency in all of this from year to year. 

And his best sta, mentioned by Joe Pos - 3,026 games played, never thrown out of one.  As Posnanski's piece demonstrates, Stan Musial was way more than his stats.  It's hard to say that about guys like Bonds and Clemens, even by their fans.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free Parking - Hardly

I got to my first game of the season Saturday night when the Giants hosted the Padres.  Game time was 6PM, and I was going to meet some of the BABI guys at 21st Amendment. 

I got downtown a touch after 5 and decided to give street parking a shot, so coming off I280 at 6th street, I hung a ralph on Brannan looking for a space between 5th and 4th.

Low and behold, the entire block was empty.  Huh?

Yes, I was early, but I wasn't that early for the game.  Generally by an hour before the game every spot on the street is taken as people empty their pockets of change to cover themselves until 6PM.  Virtually every spot was available, so I pulled up near the Bank (my usual pay lot at $30) and reached into my console for some quarters.

Hopping out, I checked the meter.  These are those fancy new meters, and the costs and times rotate in the little window.  $7 an hour until 10PM.


I looked at another meter, and sure enough, that was the rate.  Then I spotted the Special Event Parking sign.  Sorry, I didn't think to shoot a picture of one, but they have now zoned the area all around the ballpark to gouge patrons on parking fees.  And you know they don't want the $7/hour.  They want to collect on tickets.  That's where the money is.


I hopped back in my car, and figured I'll take a little ride around to check it out.  It was all over.  Finally I went back to my old fave, Bluxome alley on the other side of 5th street.  This used to be completely free parking.  Now they have meters (those multi-spot meters).  The good news is, they are regular price, which means $1.50/hour only until 6.  There were plenty of spots there too (not sure why, but I'm going to try that tonight), so for 12 bits I was parked, having to walk an extra block for the savings.

I'm usually pretty careful on this blog not to say anything that might get me in trouble, but I'm gonna do it right now anyway.  Mayor Ed Lee, the "I'm not gonna run if you make me mayor, Ed Lee" can kiss my ass.  Ed, that ain't gonna balance the budget.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy New Year

I was looking at hits to my ancient blog (I get about 2 per day and I like to see how they got there), and got to read an old column which was pretty fun. I wrote something about Derrek Lee in 2005, who put up this line:

199 hits, 50 doubles, 46 homers, 107 RBIs, 15 SB, 335 BA, 418 OBP, 662 SLG, 1.080 OPS, 393 total Bases .

Led the league in hits, doubles, BA, slugging, OPS and total bases.

Wow. Third in the MVP voting behind Big Al and get this, Andruw Jones.

Guess who was 4th? He had 36 homers, drove in 101 and hit 283.

Think about this as the Jeopardy theme is rolling and I vamp.

The guys after that are fun to read. Remember each and every one finished behind #4.

Miggy Cabrera
Chris Carpenter
Jason Bay (remember when he was 32 homers and 21 steals hitting 306?)
Chase Utley
Bobby Abreu
Chad Cordero (really?)
Trevor Hoffman
Carlos Lee
Jeff Kent for the Dodgers
David Wright
David Eckstein (really?)
Roger Clemens
Roy Oswalt
Andy Pettitte

I’m continuing because this is actually fun.

Adam Dunn
Jim Edmonds
Cliff Floyd (got a special place for this guy – I think we had him in 2005)
Marcus Giles
Scott Eyre for the Giants (really? MVP?? Not even the closer! Zero saves.)
Brad Lidge for Houston

So who was 4th? Been thinking??

Morgan Ensberg.  I bet you laughed out loud. I did.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Game 7

It was a beautiful night last night at the ballpark.  The Giants won the pennant as the skies opened up.  The players and everyone not protected by an overhang left drenched yet satisfied.

And at the end, it was truly a spiritual experience. 

The top picture is a view of the 9th inning glory from my seats in Section 215.  Below is me celebrating the victory, completely in the moment.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

BABI on the Brink

The vote to switch to 5x5 at the annual rules meeting may have failed, but it is also clear that it will probably pass next season. Thornton Melon, who missed the meeting, has expressed interest in moving to 5x5, and had he been at the meeting would have represented that missing 7th vote.

The Pickled Pecklers and the Buggerers both voted against, but we don’t hate the idea completely. However, please note that the Old Rips and the Busch Leaguers do not want to change, and they really do not want to change. Both are threatening to quit BABI if we pass it in the future.

I don’t like to be threatened. I also don’t know if they will follow through. That said, they are truly part of the fabric of this league, this incredibly well run league. They are both multiple winners. Mr. Leaguer has many times taken on secretarial duties, and has faithfully been the league scribe. Boof has been the league’s faithful treasurer since the Pecklers joined the league way back when. The league would be quite different without them, and in our humble opinion, not for the better.

But there is another factor that I don’t think everyone is considering. BABI has been around for a quarter of a century. Not a lot of leagues can say that. The fact is that 5x5 didn’t exist when the league began. Roto was strictly 4x4. A lot of the rules were based on the ability of scoring services available in the eighties. Frankly, 4x4 is part of the character of BABI. It has historical gravitas. BABI itself is an “old fucker.” We should respect that.

There is a lot to be said for the way I run PEFA.  It's my league.  Wanna play?  Gotta play by my rules.  When we let Fred Flintstone in the league, it was with the condition that he could never ever ask for any rules changes.  THAT is a good rule.

Why do you want to change to 5x5? Because it’s popular? Common? Standard? Why on earth would that be a good thing? Maybe we should appreciate our quirkiness.

Think about what a great thing we have. Don't we have fun?  Isn't BABI great?  Do you want to risk major change? Most of the support for this comes from the newest franchises. You could cause a schism that will not be fixable.

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Instant Replay

With the NBA season delayed, Comcast Sportsnet had time to fill in their broadcasts, so they have brought back the original CBS broadcast of 5 classic Warriors playoff games from their championship run in 1975. The past two weeks they reran games 6 and 7 from the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Bulls and the next 3 weeks will feature games 1, 3 and 4 from the NBA finals against the Washington Bullets.

Last night I got to see game 7 against the Bulls for the first time since I was there. I have long said this game was my number 1 favorite sports event I ever attended, even ahead of Secretariat winning the Belmont. It was a lifetime ago – I was 23, before I had even taken accounting courses no less become one. When I first came to San Francisco I bought Warriors season tickets which I held for over 30 years. They were in the 9th row at the foul line and they cost the heady sum of $7 per game, $9 per game for the NBA finals. For a struggling student, they were a bargain. Those same seats are $150 per game today.

When the season began, the Warriors were not supposed to come close to making the playoffs, but they had that wonderful team, with just one star, Rick Barry, a couple of phenomenal rookies (Keith Wilkes and Phil Smith) and a bunch of journeymen players who generally had fairly short careers. Yet down 3-2 in the series against a very fine Bulls team, they won convincingly on the road in Game 6 with Barry scoring 36 to force a game 7 in Oakland. I was there with my cousins and seat mates for a phenomenal game and a transcendent experience.

Watching the game again after 36 years last night was fun. And my memory was confirmed – it was a great game, won by the Warriors with a classic come from behind finish which featured contributions by virtually everyone. Rick Barry shot 2-14 in the first 3 quarters, and was sent to the bench, but got hot down the stretch in the 4th quarter to fuel the win. Wilkes and Smith and Charles and George Johnson finished off the Bulls. Norm Van Lier was shown kneeling on the court, pounding the floor with his fist in frustration when he knew it was over.

But my purpose for writing here is to note that watching the broadcast on TV gave the viewer no sense of the intensity, the insanity, and the simple loudness of being there in the crowd. That game was a gut wrencher, with the Warriors crawling back at the speed of a glacier from a 14 point deficit late in the first half. By the middle of the third quarter the crowd was basically roaring continually, and generally on their feet. By 4 minutes into the 4th quarter the crowd was constantly stamping their feet in an effort to simply make more noise. And by the time George Johnson blocked 3 shots starting with 3 minutes to go, the entire place was delirious. It was LOUD.

And it was glorious.

Watching the Warriors' bench reaction after Barry banked a running layup off the glass in the last minute was the best example of the thrill we had to be there. I have to say, I loved watching the game last night. It was only a memory of the live thing that I’ve held onto for decades, and it really was a fantastic game. But at the same time it was disappointing, because it proved how much you miss watching on TV as opposed to being present.

And I realize that as glorious as the Giants’ championship run was last year, we did not get a final game in any playoff series to attend and celebrate at home. Can you imagine the insanity had Edgar hit his homerun into our left field bleachers in game 5? I’m sure that is part of why every single person who saw “The Catch” in 1981 live at Candlestick thinks of that game as their #1 sports spectator moment.  Except, I guess, for Everson Walls*. After all, at the moment of the catch, he was a spectator too.

*It's not really fair to pick on Walls. The guy is one of the great humanitarians any sport has ever produced. He actually gave a kidney to his friend and teammate from that game, Ron Springs. If you were there for The Catch, or if you are a Niners fan who remembers it, you should read "The Catch" by Gary Myers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Angel in the Outfield

I just want to go on record to say I think Angel Pagan is a great pickup for the Giants. He can play. Every time I've ever seen him, I've thought "that guy is a player."

Of course, I remember saying that about Mickey Johnson. (That ought to get some of you scrambling.)

I was never enamored of Andres Torres except as a fine gentleman. I'm not sure how he hit all those homers in 2010, though I'm sure glad he found a way. He has a great story, and you can add the exclamation mark when you remember him coming back almost instantly from surgery to remove his appendix.

As for Ramon Ramirez, he was pretty great except for August, when he gave up 9 earned runs, 17 hits and 6 walks in 13-1/3 innings. And yet, when first Wilson and then Romo got hurt, they gave the ball to Santiago Casilla, not Ramirez, to close the games.

And just a few baseball notes from the news according to Rotoworld:

The Padres designated OF Jeremy Hermida for assignment. He was cleared to make room for the newly-acquired Huston Street on the 40-man roster. Hermida is still only 27, but he only hit .190/.288/.362 with two home runs and nine RBI over 66 plate appearances between the Padres and Reds this past season. He was a MONSTER prospect. How did he go downhill so young?

I love this one. Ken Rosenthal of writes that the Brewers are bracing for Francisco Rodriguez to accept arbitration. Apparently things have changed now that two more potential destinations (the Padres and Mets) are off the board. Accepting may be his best bet, as he has a chance to make around $13 million through the arbitration process. That would make him a very expensive set-up man for John Axford, but a trade is also possible. HA HA HA HA HA!

What are the Mets doing on this one? Is Sandy Alderson out of his freaking mind? Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Mets are shopping first baseman Ike Davis.

Finally, I see the Cubs are interested in Chase Headley? I am now totally sold on how bad it is to have hitters (and good it is to have pitchers) who play in Petco. Headley's road numbers last year were .330/.399/.465. Keeper at 18 if traded?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Master of Disaster

Here is your ultimate fantasy pitching disaster:

1/3 IP, 9 hits, 8 earned runs

Anything after that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that Madison Bumgarner didn't walk anyone. And he did get a strikeout along the way, though it was the strikeout of an AL non-hitting pitcher, but only after the first 8 guys had gotten hits, which is some kind of gigantic first measured by the "live ball era."

If you remember, we now analyze Bullingers based on Bill James' game scores, a method of evaluating pitching performances. Anything valued at 11 or less (Jim Bullinger's most horrible game for he Pickled Pecklers back in 1997) is officially a Bullinger.

On the surface, you've got to figure Mad Bum's game yesterday has got to qualify, and it does:

Start with 50 points - total +50

Add 1 point for each out - plus 1, total +51

Add 2 points for each inning completed over 4 - plus 0, total +51

Add 1 point for each strikeout - plus 1, total +52

Subtract 2 points for each hit - minus 18, total +34

Subtract 4 points for each earned run - minus 32, total +2

Subtract 2 points for each unearned run - minus 0, total +2

Subtract 1 point for each walk - minus 0, total +2


And as Larry Dot Net and his buddy Wix and Stix suggest, the performance is deserving of it's own name. So from here on out, any Bullinger accomplished by a starting pitcher who does not completed the first inning will be referred to as a "Bumdinger."

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Daily Grind

Jeffrey Steingarten appears regularly as a judge on Iron Chef, and seems to love to give the impression that he is an egocentric bore. He probably is, but give him credit - he considers it important in life to find the perfect hamburger. And he can write, which I'm in favor of as well.

In his quest, he summarized beautifully the criteria for evaluating a burger:

"What do we demand of the perfect hamburger? That the meat patty be profoundly beefy in flavor, mouthwateringly browned on the outside, and succulent (a combination of juicy and tender) on the inside. The bread or bun should not interfere with any of these virtues. It should be soft, mild and unassertive; its job is to absorb every last drop of savory juice trickling down from the meat while keeping the burger more or less in one place and your hands dry. Mouthwatering, beefy, juicy and tender - not too much to ask from life, but entirely elusive, at least to me. It's not as though I haven't tried. God knows, I've tried."

I've been hinting I'm fascinated with the combination of meats going into hamburgers as I think this may be one of the great secrets of the perfect burger. I've started playing around, and as you see from my reviews, I'm asking around about it. In my study of this I found a couple of useful articles on the internet, one about Steingarten's search and the other picking up where Steingarten left off. Highly recommended, and linked here:

Here is the article on Steingarten.

And here is the followup article.

From my experiments, short ribs is in. I think I like a little brisket, though it's hard to buy a little brisket, so plan on buying a whole brisket and cooking the 85% you don't use in your hamburger for another meal. I'm goofing around with chuck, hanger, which work well, but I want to move on to some loin cuts. Bobby Flay likes some sirloin in his burger grind.

RN 74 - Michael Mina's Cheeseburger

On Friday we had our office holiday lunch at Michael Mina's new restaurant, RN 74, which is over in the fancy Millenium Tower at Mission and Beale. I took the opportunity to share the cheeseburger with C. Lo as an appetizer.

They bill it as the "Prime Steak Burger", which comes with arugula, cheddar cheese and horseradish aioli. Sixteen bucks. I confirmed with the kitchen that indeed, they grind prime rib for the meat.

Unfortunately they overcooked it just a little - more medium than medium rare. It had some pink, but was no longer red. It did not matter much - it certainly wasn't dry, and the meat was quite tasty. They clearly use quite a bit of salt on the meat, which is ok by me. I did not find the meat mushy like Paul my butcher insists these high end loin cuts would become when ground. But I do think if you are going to use this you should mix it with something else. I'm going to try short rib and rib eye or New York one of these days.

Nice bun. Nice burger. Not the best in town - I still say Tyler's Wayfare Tavern is #1. I'm going to Spruce this weekend, which is touted to have one of the best in town.

RN 74 was quite a wonderful restaurant, though as expensive as you would expect a Michael Mina restaurant to be. They have some appetizers on the menu for sharing, and two of them were spectacular: maitake mushroom tempura and grilled flatbread with lamb merguez and chickpeas. We gobbled them down. And I see they have roasted marrow bones with bacon marmalade on the dinner menu. That has the sound of Oola's ribs - appetizer, main course AND desert. Followed, of course, by my funeral.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Did You Bet The House?

Stanford 40, Virginia Tech 12.

OK, it was 4 touchdowns, not 3. It was a gimme just like I said. And if you do the math, I even predicted 40 points for Stanford.

You're all welcome.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Bulls Head

I hadn’t been to the Bulls Head for eons despite the fact that I have lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years. By the way, every time I look at the restaurant sign, I want to call it the Bull Sheed.

It’s by the West Portal Muni Station, a hole in the wall steakhouse that has been there forever. I was reminded of it in looking at hamburger joints, and on New Year’s Eve, having left the office early, I decided to give it a shout for late lunch.

They actually are better known for their Buffalo burgers, but that will have to wait for another weight – my traditional New Year’s Resolution. So this will be my last cheeseburger review for a while.

You can choose among buffalo, turkey and beef burgers, and there is a long list of extras you can choose among. Additionally, you can order 6 oz. or 8 oz. I went for the half pound beef burger with cheddar.

It seemed huge. I think it may weigh in higher than advertised, and they pound it a little thinner which spreads it out to cover the really big bun. But looking at the pre-molded patties in the “check me out steak refrigerator,” they just look enormous. Never a bad thing.

The meat was pretty tasty, cooked perfectly. My objection was the bun is too soft, and it just starts to disintegrate as you eat it, which takes a while, because it is a many bite burger.

The fries looked good, but I ordered coleslaw which wasn’t. And I partook in the weirdest salad bar in the city. I was in a veggie mood.

It’s a fun, nearby place, but I suspect it is not even the best burger in my neighborhood. Certainly the O Club is better. But it’s big and edible. The big cheeseburger was reasonably priced at $9.50. Neighborhoods are better for old style places like that.

Bet Your House (Your House, Not Mine)

I don’t bet football games, or baseball or basketball for that matter. I stink at it. The guys that make the point spreads are just too smart for me.

That said, I keep looking at that Orange Bowl line, Stanford favored over Virginia Tech by 3 and keep thinking it is a misprint. Every day I look at the line and expect to see a big change, not a half point or a point but a TD.

I have not seen Virginia Tech play, but I have seen Stanford, and I think they could give anyone – Oregon, Auburn, TCU – anyone one hell of a game. Don’t forget, they were hammering Oregon at half time, but ran out of gas against the best second half team I’ve seen in a long time. The would have crushed all of those horrible Big 10 teams yesterday.

And this guy can play. Stanford scores points against everyone because of him. The over/under is 58, and I'd say the over is a lock, except I don't know if Virginia Tech is good enough to score the other 18 points to get the total there.

I think we on the West Coast were handed a gimme. The East Coast just hasn’t been watching. If you are a bettor, give the points. I want to go on record here before game time – Stanford by 3 TDs.

Remember, I stink at this, and I don’t really follow much college football. Just one moron’s opinion.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Only One Thing To Say

One Market

Listed high on the cheeseburger list is One Market, located at....why don't you just guess?

Here was the menu listing:

Hamburger & Potato Tots, sweet onions, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, cole slaw, port dijon - $14.75

I thought about asking for the burger with something other than blue cheese. Now understand - I like blue cheese. I like a good Cobb Salad as much as the next guy. And I like Pt. Reyes blue. But I was suspicious of blue cheese on a burger - I thought it would dominate the taste of everything. When the waiter came to take the order, I went ahead with the chef's cheeseburger vision and ordered it as listed on the menu.

Big mistake.

Just as I thought, all I could taste was blue cheese. I made a point of tasting the meat separately, and it was pretty good. The burger was perfectly cooked, and there was a nice bun. I can't even remember the slaw. My advice - when you go blue, plan to say P.U.

I think I would have liked it just fine with cheddar. It was perfectly cooked. Tater Tots were OK - they were bigger than Tots should be, but I think I'd rather have something else.

I asked the waiter what cuts of meat were in the hamburger grind. He replied, "choice." These guys generally don't get it. I still believe the real secret is in the meat combo in the grind.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lark Creek Steakburger

I took a walk today to Westfield Shopping Center and used it as an opportunity to have a burger at Lark Creek Steak.

I had eaten there once before, and was generally disappointed in the steak I had, but really, really, really liked the croutons in their salad. I'm not kidding, those were the greatest croutons I ever had, and I make some of the greatest croutons ever. After the meal I walked over to the chefs and congratulated them on their croutons. Probably some little serf makes them, but man, they were delicious.

I wasn't there for croutons today, just the burger. Good burger. Half pounder, topped with roasted onions and sharp cheddar, perfectly cooked to medium rare. $14.50 ish.

I asked the waiter if he knew what cut of meat it was and he said it was filet. Really? Really? It was on the lean side, and after the first bite the meat seemed like it could have a little more flavor, but that answer surprises me. Who would make a burger out of tenderloin? Too lean, though it didn't seem OVERLY lean.

I've been paying attention to meat grinds because I think that may be the great secret of a great burger. I'm definitely for using short ribs as a part. I'm going to try short ribs and filet, though cerebrally I feel sure that despite the cost, short rib and NY strip may be the way to go. Most burgers are made with what is left over. The right grind conbo makes all the difference, which is why I loved Tyler's burger at Wayfare Tavern.

Gotta great tip from Dean Duffy - Morton's serves $6 burgers in the bar during happy hour. Despite Michael Bauer's horrific review of Morton's recently*, that's something I really want to try.

*He started the review by apologizing to all of the restaurants he had described as expensive previously. Morton's set a new standard.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger

Here is an update on my ill-fated San Francisco cheeseburger project.

Actually, it was literally ill-fated for the first restaurant in this series, Midi, where I ate their cheeseburger at the bar and then they went out of business. Good size with gorgonzola cheese, the meat was fairly lean, the burger properly cooked. Great fries. $13. RIP, though I’d likely not return for that anyway.

When I drive home headed down Sutter Street, I always pass a place called Sliders on the corner of Sutter and Polk. It’s a chrome plated modern diner serving primarily burgers and sides. They cook the burgers on a four foot round grill. The meat is nothing special, and the burgers look greasy on the grill. You can get 6 or 8 oz. burgers, and pretty much anything you want on it. In fact, they have a condiment bar with a pretty wide array of dopey things. I ordered an 8 oz. cheeseburger, put some lettuce on it and powered it down with a side of onion rings. Cost was about $10 total. Burger was fair. Nothing special.

A client took me to The Daily Grill on Geary off Powell. I’ve been by that place a million times, but it never occurred to me to give it a try despite its proximity to my office. The restaurant is a beautiful New York style B & G with lots of dark wood. They have a fairly complete comfort food menu. Nice, not great burger for about $13 with shoestring fries. I liked the restaurant quite a bit, and imagine I’ll be back, though I’d probably work the rest of the menu and pass on the burger.

Finally yesterday I went down to the Ball Park with the Colonel and C. Lo. for our rendezvous with "our" World Series Trophy. I’ll post the picture when the Colonel gets me a scanned copy. Afterwards C. Lo. and I talked about going to Marlowe (home of Michael Bauer’s favorite burger), but we were concerned that they weren’t serving lunch at 2:30 when we left the trophy line, so we settled on The Public House. At the time KNBR was broadcasting there all day, pushing an auction* of stupid sports stuff for youth sports. We caught the end of Fitz and Brooks and the beginning of the Razor and Mr. T.

* Is there anything dopier than listening to an auction on the radio, particularly an auction of stuff like hanging out with the radio hosts? Hearing them plug themselves over and over reminded me of the scene in “That Thing You Do” in which The Wonders are interviewed by an self-important windbag on the radio in which the only thing they actually say is “Hi.”

By the way, that's me wearing my double Nobel Prize in front of the Willie statue, the ball park and The Public House.

Anyway The Public House had an incredibly limited menu (3 appetizers, 5 sandwiches including a burger). I went for the burger, C. Lo. for the Cuban sandwich which turned into a burger when they determined they were out of the Cubans. Jeez. How do you run out of 20% of your menu at 2:30 PM?

The burger came with bacon, avocado and cheddar. The meat was somehow very smokey, and worse, overcooked – medium well instead of medium rare. It was a tall burger, but pressed down with a little pressure. Somehow the contents disappeared well before the bun. It was messy to eat (I think avocado makes the contents slide around too much), not terribly tasty. It came with a choice of fries, chips or coleslaw for $13. Bad burger, bad restaurant. What a disappointment. And not a particularly nice sports bar. With Paragon a block northeast, I’ll never be back.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Joy to the City

I love this picture. This is Cody Ross, who was on 3rd base when Edgar Renteria hit that 7th inning homer in game 5 off the unhittable Cliff Lee to score the go-ahead run. In his mind, he had just won the World Series. He was jogging down the baseline, and before he touched home, he did a full 360, which he has just completed. Look at his face. He's in rapture.

I love this picture because at that moment, that's exactly how I felt.

Of course, I wasn't in Texas running down the third base line. In fact, I wasn't even in San Francisco. I was driving north from San Diego Airport in a rental car, listening to the radio. On the broadcast, the announcer seemed surprised that Renteria's blast reached the seats. It sounded initially like a deep but routine fly ball. Then all of a sudden, he called it gone.

At that moment I smashed the steering wheel with my right fist, honked the horn and screamed "Edgar!" as loud as I could. I was in complete disbelief. There were 2 on, with 2 out (after Pat Burrell pathetically struck out for the 10th time in 12 World Series at bats). The count was 2-0, and the announcer was suggesting Lee was pitching around Renteria to get to Aaron Rowand. All of a sudden, the Giants had, for all intents and purposes, won.

At that moment, my phone, on silent, buzzed in my pants pocket. I pulled it out and it was a text from The Doc*, which said simply, "clutch hitter." This was what Larry Baer and the Giants said was the great reason for signing Edgar to a 2 year, $18.5 million contract before the 2009 season. His lines in the two regular seasons: 2009 - 5 homers, 48 RBIs, .250 BA, .328 slugging. In 2010 - 3 homers, 22 RBIs, .276 BA, .374 slugging. He only played in 72 games this season, with 267 plate appearances. He was done.

He stunk, and got paid a boat load of money.

* Before I forget, The Doc had the single best line of the entire post-season. In game 4 of the NLCS in the ninth inning, with a man on Buster Posey broke his bat. He walked back to the dugout as the bat boy came out with a new bat. He bent over, checking out both bats as he faced the bat boy. Without a moment's pause, the Doc said, "Pick me out a good one, Billy." If you don't know that reference, you probably aren't reading this. if you do get that reference, you're probably laughing like we were. Great line, Doc. BTW, he proceeded to hit a single to right, moving the runner (Huff Daddy) to third. Huff scored the winning run on Juan Uribe's sac fly.

Bochy had to consider leaving him off the playoff roster, along with Barry Zito, or maybe instead of Barry Zito. And in the NLCS, he was worse - way, way, way worse. He was 1 for 16, the hit being a lonely single.

And then, suddenly, like the rise of the Phoenix, he started all 5 games in the Series, hit .412, slugged .765 with 2 homers including the biggest homer in San Francisco Giant history - by a mile. He was probably a unanimous MVP. Maybe Lincecum and or Wilson got a vote or two, but it was all Edgar, who created certainly one of the top 100 signature baseball moments of all time, and probably the number 1 signature moment ever for the SF Giants.

Worth every penny.

They say he may retire, and what a way to go out. Who ever went out any better? Sandy Koufax. John Elway. Maybe Randy Cross for you locals. Edgar has made something over $80 million in his career. His body is letting him down, and he really doesn't have the skills anymore. Edgar, go while the going is more than good. And every couple of years, he can come back to Telephone Park and be cheered to the rafters like Will and Barry and Mitch and the two Willies and Juan and Gaylord and all the former players we cherish so well.

Want proof? Did you see the reception for the Texas starting catcher when he was intorduced before game 1 of the series to the Giant fans? Bengie Molina got the single biggest ovation of the night, by far. We love Bengie. Hey, he's probably going to be voted a 1/2 share by the Giants in addition to his full share from the Rangers. And he'll get a ring, though not the ring he hoped for. He's thinking about retiring too, and I guarantee - after he does, he'll be back to be celebrated.

I was at the parade today. I didn't go to City Hall, but just based on where I was and what I saw, I guarantee you there were a million people involved in the celebration today. That might not be a lot in NYC, but the 7x7 that is San Francisco only has 777,000 people living in the city. People were coming in from all over NorCal. Caltrans stopped selling train tickets, and just let people get on the trains because of the delays the volume was causing. There were massive backups on BART all morning. There was orange everywhere (except on me, though I am looking for an orange Fear The Beard T-shirt.) It was crystal clear, 75 degrees, and glorious. It was the place to be.

I told that to Stephanie Salter, who used to cover the Giants years ago, and who now is stuck (bless her heart) in Terre Haute, Indiana, home of Buffy and Jody and Cissy. You had to be HERE. I wasn't here Monday night, stuck in San Diego on business. I missed the first 4 innings entirely, then caught the 5th inning on the Budget Rental Car TV (after checking in, I actually watched the end of the 5th before heading to the car. I heard the 6th and 7th on the rental car radio, and saw the 8th and 9th at the home of my clients, who I had to make turn the game on.

It just wasn't the same as being home, where I could hear Kruk and Kuip, and watch the local celebrations on Comcast and the local news channels. It was too sterile. You had to be HERE.

I'm here now, and if you look again at Cody's face, well, that's me and a couple of million more fans. I remember in 1975 that at 2AM I drove to SFO to meet the Warriors with about 2000 people to greet them after winning their one and only championship. Well, I'm a little too old for that now, though there were quite a few people who met the Giants at the ballpark at 4AM when the team arrived. My heart was with them.

They are the most lovable team since those Cinderella Warriors. I can only hope we keep most of the characters together for another run next year. Not just to win it, but to enjoy it. Because of all the teams I've ever watched, they enjoyed it like no other.

Me too.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On The Other Hand...

Well, he didn't totally suck.

On The Mound Today...

Uh, Oh – It’s Jonathan Sanchez pitching for the Giants today. Well, at least it's not an important game.

Jonathan Sanchez was pretty horrible in his last outing, leaving everyone freaking out as he heads to the mound in Game 3 of the Series today. It’s not that we’re freaking out about Game 3, not with a 2-0 lead.

We’re freaking out that if the Series goes to Game 7 next Thursday, it will be his turn again.

Hey, everyone: get over it.

OK, he stunk last time. He went 2 innings and got yanked. His Game Score (as computed by Bill James, which you can read about here) was 28. Hey, it wasn’t a Bullinger (defined as a game score of 11 or less).

But it was pretty bad. Pretty bad.

In that article, it was computed that Lincecum had a Game Score of 96 in his first playoff game against the Braves, the fourth highest such score in playoff history. Halliday’s no hitter against the Reds scored 94.

So here is today’s trivia question: what was the 2nd highest Giant Game Score of the 2010 playoffs? Here is a hint: it wasn’t pitched by Matt Cain, whose three games with an ERA of zero point zero had game scores of 62, 75, and 71 (in that order).

Nope. It was Sanchez in Game 3 against the Braves in the NLDS, when he went 7-1/3 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 2 hits and a walk, striking out 11. Game Score - 86, considered a superb game.

Just a note to you Nervous Nellies as we hit the final countdown to Game 3.