Good-bye

Chris Quick, who runs the ESPN-affiliated Bay City Ball, has invited me to write for his site and I’ve accepted. Needless to say, I’m very excited about the opportunity to start writing over there. My first post, on the Angel Pagan signing, is already up.

Anyway, this also means the end of Giants Nirvana. I’m not good with good-byes — and besides, this isn’t entirely good-bye, as I’ll still be writing elsewhere — so I’ll be brief…

To anyone that’s ever stopped by here to read anything of mine: Thank you. It’s been a fun ride.

Win a Matt Cain Perfect Game DVD

On June 13th, Matt Cain threw a perfect game. Thanks to A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions, it’s now on DVD. I was contacted by an A&E Networks Home Entertainment representative the other day, and she was kind enough to offer a couple copies of the DVD to give away through the site.

First of all, here’s a description of the contents of the DVD (BASEBALL’S GREATEST GAMES: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS FIRST PERFECT GAME):

June 13, 2012, AT&T Park Pitching ace Matt Cain threw the first perfect game in franchise history when he overwhelmed the Houston Astros with a masterful performance at AT&T Park. Cain dominated with 14 strikeouts to match Sandy Koufax (September 9, 1965) for the most ever in a perfect game, while tossing only the 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history. San Francisco Giants fans marveled at Cain’s 125-pitch classic on this historic night. The defense made several terrific plays, and he otherwise scattered six groundball outs and seven flyball outs to shut down Houston. The impressive performance further links Cain to the franchise’s proud heritage as Christy Mathewson spun a Giants no-hitter in 1905–on June 13th no less. Direct from the Major League Baseball archives, this extraordinary television broadcast includes every pitch of Cain’s historic and masterful performance. A special audio feature allows fans to watch the television broadcast and listen to the Giants Radio Network announcers!

Now, here’s how you can win a copy…

Today, the Giants begin a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. You will need to correctly predict the following:

1) Which team will win the series.

2) How many games in the series the Giants will win.

3) How many runs, in total, the Giants will score over these three games.

4) And finally, how many hits Brandon Belt will have in the series.

The two winners will be determined by the first question. In the event of a tie (three or more correct answers), question #2 will serve as a tie-breaker. In the event of yet another tie, question #3 will serve as a tie-breaker. And so on for #4.

As a final tie-breaker, the winners will be determined by priority based on when their comment is posted. (For example, if three people answer the first three correctly, but miss the fourth question, then the winners would be the first two to post the correct ones.) In order to enter, just leave a comment with your four predictions. It’s that simple. Although I’m sure I made it sound a lot more complicated than it is.

Sample:

1) Giants.

2) 3.

3) 20.

4) 4.

After the series is over, I’ll announce the winners in a post on this website and on Twitter as well. Oh yeah, and the contest closes once tonight’s game starts, so — what are you waiting for?!

Giants Release Mike Fontenot

In a surprising move today, the Giants cut 2B Mike Fontenot. Fontenot came over in an August trade with the Cubs for OF Evan Crawford. Last year he hit .227/.304/.377 in 252 PA’s. His release likely solidifies Ryan Theriot’s roster spot as well as gives Joaquin Arias and Brett Pill an easier path to a spot on the opening day roster. Were it up to me I would have started Fontenot on opening day and platooned him with Ryan Theriot until Freddy Sanchez was healthy. I find this move to be a bit odd, but given the lack of depth among middle infielders, Philadelphia or Atlanta may end up bringing Fontenot in.

Media Day Mini-Recap

Well, I’m sitting here in the press box along with the other bloggers and Hank Schulman, Andrew Baggarly, Chris Haft, et al.

I just got down from the Brian Sabean/Bruce  Bochy blogger interview session, which seemed to have gone well. It lasted about 20 minutes or so, and I recorded the whole thing on audio, so I’ll post that when I get a chance. We asked them about Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Jeff Keppinger, Brandon Belt, among other things. Nothing especially groundbreaking was revealed, but there were certainly some interesting tidbits. Again, you’ll hear those later.

As for the players and staff, I got the chance to speak with Eric Surkamp, Clay Hensley, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Madison Bumgarner, Ron Wotus, Aubrey Huff (awkward), Brandon Belt, Jeremy Affeldt, Chris Stewart, and Pablo Sandoval. I think that about covers it, but I might have forgotten someone. Oh well. Most of the interviews are on audio, with some on video. I’ll be sporadically uploading them today and throughout the next week or so. The Belt, Bumgarner, and Romo interviews went particularly well, I’d say.

Greetings from Media Day

I’m here at AT&T Park, awaiting the beginning of Giants Media Day. I just rode up in an elevator with Brian Sabean, Santiago Casilla, and a bunch of people I don’t know, which was an interesting experience. Now I’m staked out at Sergio Romo‘s table right now, which will hopefully ensure that I get a chance to talk to him.

The list of players and coaches that are expected to be here, available to the media, is long –30, to be exact — but if last year’s event was any indication, some of them won’t show up. It will probably be hard to get a word in edgewise with guys like Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum because they’re generally crowded by the mainstream media, but I’m hoping to get an opportunity to talk one-on-one with guys like Madison Bumgarner and Sergio Romo (among many others).

At 1:30, a select group of bloggers, myself included, will be interviewing Brian Sabean. As far as I know (granted, this is only my second Media Day), this is the first time anything like that has been set up. I’m not exactly sure who will be there, but I know Crazy Crabbers and Bay Area Sports Guy are planning on coming. We promise not to just lob Sabean a bunch of softballs…

Anyway, should be fun. I’ll try to capture some of the interviews on audio, or video, or through some other means (maybe I’ll just end up posting the transcripts). We’ll see. I’ll probably be posting the content throughout the next week, so that should be something to look forward to. Last year on Media Day, the Giants announced that they had extended Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, and Pablo Sandoval had his post-Operation Panda 2.0 press conference. Hopefully some equally newsworthy things are in store for us today…

Dodgers Season Preview Q&A: 2012

Next up in the series of NL West season preview Q&As: the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chad Moriyama (you can find him on Twitter at @chadmoriyama) was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Dodgers, who are coming off of an 82-79 season.

1. How would you grade the Dodgers’ offseason?

C-. The only thing that prevented this off-season from being a disaster was getting Matt Kemp locked up for the long haul. With a ton of money to spend (despite ownership claims), Ned Colletti brought in Juan Rivera, Mark Ellis, Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, Chris Capuano, Jerry Hairston, Aaron Harang, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Mike MacDougal. They should make the Dodgers reasonably competitive in 2012, but there isn’t a true impact player in all that mess, just a cavalcade of mediocre and average. Worse yet, most of them are on two-year deals, which is just mind blowing to me considering he probably won’t even be around in 2013.

2. Best move of the offseason?

Matt Kemp. There’s risk involved, but with a system bereft of bats, he’s one of the few stars Dodgers fans can rally around and he figures to meet his contract expectations unless something catastrophic happens.

3. Worst move?

Tight race between Adam Kennedy and Jerry Hairston, but I’ll go with Kennedy because he figures to be a replacement level player and I think he’s a downgrade from what the Dodgers already have in the system.

4. The Dodgers didn’t finish all that far behind the Giants last season, at 82-79. Where do you see them finishing in 2012?

Barring any significant surprises, the offense figures to be the same or slightly worse, while the pitching staff has seemingly been downgraded. I think it will take either a great deal of luck or a significant amount of surprising performances to get this squad into the playoffs, and I most likely see them finishing 3rd or 4th.

5. What’s the current state of the Dodgers’ farm system? Should we expect big things out of Nathan Eovaldi this year?

Most of the best Dodgers prospects are no longer officially prospects, with Trayvon Robinson traded, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa not eligible, and Javy Guerra becoming the closer. The rest of the system is completely barren of impact bats at the upper levels, but they do have a ton of mid-20s outfielders that are mashing. Hopefully one of them works out. The pitchers in the system have hope, but besides the aforementioned Nathan Eovaldi, most of them are not ready. Personally, I think Eovaldi could be effective out of the bullpen in 2012, but if the Dodgers want a starter, he’ll have to develop his third pitch and get a little depth to an otherwise flat slider.

The new owner can’t come soon enough.

Thanks again to Chad for taking the time to answer these. You can check out his work here