The Sacramento River Cats: 85 Miles From the Major Leagues, by Chuck Strom

Game Action

At the end of last season, the baseball Triple-A Sacramento River Cats changed their major league affiliate from the Oakland A’s to the San Francisco Giants. Naturally, this enhanced their appeal greatly for me, so I paid them a visit. Raley Field, a 10,000-seat ballpark, gets good online reviews, and I rated . . . → Read More: The Sacramento River Cats: 85 Miles From the Major Leagues, by Chuck Strom

Throw Day for Madison Bumgarner, by Chuck Strom

Madison Bumgarner

One of the benefits of arriving early at the ballpark is that sometimes you get treated to a little extra entertainment for the price of your ticket. Yesterday was Madison Bumgarner’s between-starts throwing day. There weren’t many fans in the park yet, but most of those who were crowded near the Giants . . . → Read More: Throw Day for Madison Bumgarner, by Chuck Strom

An Uncharacteristic Day at AT&T Park, by Chuck Strom

James Shields

Lately, the San Francisco Giants have followed their usual script of good pitching and weak hitting, as illustrated by the last three starts by Madison Bumgarner, losses by scores of 2-0, 1-0, and 3-2. They are doing much better in the standings than they should, mostly because they have owned the NL . . . → Read More: An Uncharacteristic Day at AT&T Park, by Chuck Strom

Grantland Article – The Odd Year Hangover‏, by Chuck Strom

Here’s a pretty good Grantland piece on the Giants’ recent fall from grace. Jonah Keri zeroes in pretty accurately on their problems. He is , if anything, too optimistic on their season prospects. They play like a banged-up collection of spare parts, which in fact they were in 2014, and their championship seems all . . . → Read More: Grantland Article – The Odd Year Hangover‏, by Chuck Strom

Opening Day 2015: Prelude to Garbage Time? by Chuck Strom

Success often breeds higher prices, and Opening Day at AT&T Park was no exception. Up to the day of the game, I waited for online ticket prices to drop to a level I was willing to pay, but despite some late movement by a few desperate sellers, they never did, with the cheapest seats . . . → Read More: Opening Day 2015: Prelude to Garbage Time? by Chuck Strom

Prelude to A New Season: the SF Giants 2015 Fan Fest, by Chuck Strom

With the glow still fresh from the San Francisco Giants’ recent championship, there was no question that I would attend their Fan Fest last weekend. I took both of my daughters with me, and I looked forward to seeing its attractions and avoiding the autograph lines, having spent the previous two Fan Fests standing . . . → Read More: Prelude to A New Season: the SF Giants 2015 Fan Fest, by Chuck Strom

An Established Routine: The 2014 Giants World Series Trophy Tour, by Chuck Strom

2014 World Series Trophy

The triumphs of ancient Rome were something of a victory parade on steroids. Usually celebrated after a major conquest, they were long processions that included captives on display and soldiers of the victorious army marching and singing salacious songs at their leader’s expense. In the midst of the procession, the . . . → Read More: An Established Routine: The 2014 Giants World Series Trophy Tour, by Chuck Strom

Had Them All The Way – Giants Win Game 7, By Chuck Strom

Concrete Baseballs

Middle relief pitching is perhaps the least glamorous position in all of sports. Those who make a career of it rarely win lucrative contracts, at least by major league standards, but they can be as crucial to success as anyone else on a baseball team, particularly in October. No one has demonstrated . . . → Read More: Had Them All The Way – Giants Win Game 7, By Chuck Strom

The Series Moves to San Francisco: Some Observations, by Chuck Strom

Concrete Baseballs

Today is a travel day, and after two games the teams look as evenly matched as I had anticipated. This seems a good time to don my manager’s hat and make some observations.

Madison Bumgarner is the most dominant pitcher still throwing in October. Especially if he faces Royals pitcher James Shields . . . → Read More: The Series Moves to San Francisco: Some Observations, by Chuck Strom

The Even-Numbered Magic Continues: Notes on the 2014 World Series, by Chuck Strom

Ryan Vogelsong

It has been fashionable among San Francisco Giants fans, myself included, to talk about the magic of even-numbered years, as if deep playoff runs were somehow ordained by the ones digit of the annual Christian calendar. Up to now, I had not taken the idea seriously even while repeating it, but with . . . → Read More: The Even-Numbered Magic Continues: Notes on the 2014 World Series, by Chuck Strom

Time Again For October Baseball, by Chuck Strom

National Anthem

When I grew up, the prospect of seeing the San Francisco Giants play in October seemed outside the scope of reality. In 1971, at the tail end of the Mays-McCovey era, they lost the National League Championship Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games. I was eight years old at the . . . → Read More: Time Again For October Baseball, by Chuck Strom

Another Year, Another No-No, by Chuck Strom

Tim Lincecum on Opening Day

For those of you who don’t follow baseball, I am happy to report that San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum pitched his second career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. At 112 pitches and only one base-runner allowed, this no-hitter was a model of decorum compared to . . . → Read More: Another Year, Another No-No, by Chuck Strom

Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Stan Lee is 91 Years Young

Just over a week ago was Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park. The highlight of the evening’s pregame festivities was the appearance of Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman and most of the rest of the superheroes of Marvel Comics. Ninety-one years young, he came out to the . . . → Read More: Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Happy Birthday at the Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Madison Bumgarner

My daughter Jillian turned 16 just over a week ago. The day coincided with the San Francisco Giants’ first Orange Friday game of 2014, complete with a fireworks show afterward, so we naturally decided to go to AT&T Park to celebrate. The Giants had started the season reasonably well, winning six of . . . → Read More: Happy Birthday at the Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

San Francisco Giants Fan Fest 2014: Success This Time, and Worth the Wait, by Chuck Strom

At the O’Doul Gate

At the 2013 San Francisco Giants Fan Fest at AT&T Park, I waited the entire day on the field for an autograph, left empty-handed and resolved never to do that again. This year, I had my daughter Jillian with me and didn’t want her to endure such a frustrating and . . . → Read More: San Francisco Giants Fan Fest 2014: Success This Time, and Worth the Wait, by Chuck Strom

Timmy’s Coming Back! by Chuck Strom

Lincecum 2012 NLDS

A few months ago, San Francisco Giants announcer Mike Krukow said that baseball players generally do not sign new contracts with their old teams when they include a pay cut. Worse than a loss of income, he suggested, a cut brings a loss of status that players prefer not to endure . . . → Read More: Timmy’s Coming Back! by Chuck Strom

Feeling the Magic, by Chuck Strom

Jillian with Posey jersey

A week before the All-Star Break, I took my daughter Jillian to AT&T Park to see the Giants play the Dodgers. On the way down she asked if an outfielder had ever caught a fly ball with his bare hand.

“Yes,” I said. “Kevin Mitchell did it in ’89 . . . → Read More: Feeling the Magic, by Chuck Strom

Tonic for the Soul: Raising the Flag on Opening Day, By Chuck Strom

“The cast of an off-Broadway production of Jersey Boys sang the national anthem, and the bearers unfurled the flag at a run until it nearly covered the outfield.”

After the San Francisco Giants won their championship in 2010, I wish that I had attended Opening Day the next season. Until then, I had thought . . . → Read More: Tonic for the Soul: Raising the Flag on Opening Day, By Chuck Strom

Metallica Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

The members of Metallica, including vocalist James Hetfield and guitarist Kirk Hemmett, live in Marin County and attend Giants games regularly

At nine in the morning on Friday, my wife called me at my office. “It’s Metallica Night at AT&T Park,” she said. “I think you should go.”

That sounded a lot better than . . . → Read More: Metallica Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Quest for a Third Ring: 2013 San Francisco Giants Season Preview, By Chuck Strom

Baseball writers currently use a lot of sabermetrics to judge a team’s prospects for an upcoming season, carefully calibrating the odds of individual players either regressing in their performance or breaking out to their full potential. Sophisticated as they may be in their analysis, however, their predictions still center on two factors: past performance . . . → Read More: Quest for a Third Ring: 2013 San Francisco Giants Season Preview, By Chuck Strom