Brandon Belt is a Big-Leaguer...Now What?

Image C/O Joseph Pun at AZGiants Photography.

Brandon Belt has made the Opening Day lineup for the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants. There will be no doubting that manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean sacked up this year after keeping Buster Posey in the minors to begin last year, and Belt will have to deal with a lot of pressure to possibly bring a second consecutive Rookie Of the Year award back to AT&T Park.

What it came down to – and this is from multiple mouths around the organization, on the radio, and on the television box – wasn't that Belt was too good for AAA or that there were service time issues, but was that management has to put nine guys on the field at 5:00 today. Those nine guys have to be the best nine people qualified to bring home a win. And Brandon Belt is one of those nine guys most qualified.

But now that Belt has made the Opening Day roster, and the front office has many times re-iterated that, like Posey, once Belt is up, he's up for good. If he starts to struggle a lot, I don't doubt they'll keep him up just for sake of their word, but I do believe that he's not the stopgap while Cody Ross recovers from an injury.

That means that, while Spring Training is over and the Opening Day roster is set, there are players on this team whose jobs are not exactly resolved. Dan Runzler and Guillermo Mota both made the team, but I imagine that when Brian Wilson returns from the disabled list, one of them will be the first one out. Runzler still has options left, so I assume that he'd be the one to go. But Mota is also spotty, and easily replaceable, where Runzler is less so.

On the position-player side of the ball, things get a little more complicated. The Giants have already cut ties (pending waivers) with Travis Ishikawa, mostly because they still have five players with experience at first base (Huff, DeRosa, Sandoval, Posey, and of course, Belt).

When Cody Ross returns, however, they'll need to make another decision. This time it will definitely be an outfielder that gets moved out, and I can almost guarantee it will be between Nate Schierholtz and Aaron Rowand. Some people have even been saying Pat Burrell isn't as safe as we all think, but I think that he'll only be on the bubble if he struggles mightily at the plate.

Again, this is the debate that I had with myself a couple weeks ago. I think Schierholtz has a lot more value than Rowand does at this stage in his career, but the contract of Schierholtz is a lot easier to move. But the Giants have already made one bold move with Belt, so maybe they'll have some brass balls and do what needs to be done.

Think of it as just extending Spring Training another two weeks for these four guys (Mota, Runzler, Schierholtz, Rowand). Even with the season starting, they're still playing for a spot on this team. And the last thing you want to do when your team wins the World Series is to not be there for the title defense.

All because of a 23-year old kid from Houston. A fifth-round pick who vaulted up the minor league system in a year. A kid that is now the starting first baseman on a team that won the World Series five months ago.


Take THAT, Eastern Seaboard Promotional Network

***Before anyone calls me out for it, I just want you all to know that yes, I used to work for Comcast SportsNet. But I also really like what they're doing with the local Bay Area sports scene. They have a lot of prominent Bay Area personalities that do a lot better work that ESPN on the local sports, and sometimes they ask me to push a story out through another outlet. I'm not a sellout. I'm just helping out a colleague, and I'm more than happy to do so.***

Did anyone else notice how winning the World Series really put the Giants on the map? It kind of tends to do that. Pretty well, too. I mean, when was the last time that ESPN showed Giants Spring Training highlights on SportsCenter?

That wasn't even Baseball Tonight, West Coast edition. And now Brian Wilson has multiple MLB 2K11 commercials (even though Roy Halladay is on the cover, throwing a pitch that Cody Ross hit over the left-field wall).

Yet that also means that the old Network, ESPN, will poach on any big games that the Giants will play this year. Like Opening Day for the defending world champions against their biggest rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

So if you've been waiting all winter for the friendly faces of Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, and Jon Miller on your television for the first regular season game since the Giants were crowned World Series champs, you'll have to wait another day to see them call a baseball game.

But if you want wall-to-wall coverage of the Giants without listening to ESPN announcers, check out Comcast SportsNet for hours upon hours upon hours of action. Seriously, from 2:00 PM until 10:30PM, there will be Giants coverage, in some form or another.

Straight from the press release, here's the schedule:
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM  
Inside the Clubhouse: Town Hall Meeting – The second annual Giants Town Hall Meeting features players and coaches from the 2010 World Championship team, including Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Brian Wilson, Andres Torres, Pat Burrell, Matt Cain, Cody Ross and others reliving their postseason experience with season ticket holders.  The program is hosted by Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow and Dave Flemming.
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Legends: 2010 San Francisco Giants – A one-hour documentary encompassing the thrilling ride that was the 2010 Giants championship season – from the early clubhouse camaraderie developed during Spring Training to the critically acclaimed “Torture” that Giants fans endured in many closely contested games, from the “Rally Thong” to “Fear the Beard,” from the “Orange October” that brought together Giants fans throughout Northern California to the World Series ticker-tape parade and San Francisco City Hall celebration. 
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
SportsNet Central: Orange Opener, Live Pregame Coverage – Before the national broadcast of the game, Comcast SportsNet’s SportsNet Central: Orange Opener leads viewers to the first pitch with a complete preview of the game, exclusive pregame interviews, feature stories on Giants players and the latest team news and headlines from around MLB.  
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
CSNBayArea.com – Senior Insider Ray Ratto and MLB Insider Mychael Urban will host an in-game chat.  CSNBayArea.com will also feature exclusive online video, photos from the ballpark, and analysis and breakdown of the Giants' season opener. 
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (approx.)
SportsNet Central: Orange Opener, Live Postgame Coverage – Immediately following the final out, SportsNet Central: Orange Opener will feature in-depth game analysis, game highlights, interviews and player reaction, and a preview of the next game. 
9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Chronicle Live – Comcast SportsNet presents a special primetime edition of Chronicle Live, hosted by Greg Papa, which will feature an interactive roundtable wrapping up the Giants’ season opener against the Dodgers and will include guests live from Dodger Stadium.  The show will also cover other stories and topics in the world of sports.
10:00 PM – 10:30 PM  
SportsNet Central – The network's coverage will conclude with the region’s only live daily, locally-focused sports news show, providing Northern California sports fans with in-depth, comprehensive news coverage on the hometown teams, breaking local and national news, up-to-the-minute scores, the best local video highlights and daily insider reports on the Bay Area’s teams.

Find it. Watch it. Love it.

Giants baseball is back.


Game Notes: Cain and the Giants Pick Up Where They Left Off

The last time the San Francisco Giants were in AT&T Park, Matt Cain pitched 7.2 scoreless innings in Game 2 of the World Series. Exactly five months later, Cain pitched well again, giving up a few runs to the cross-town Athletics, but for the most part looking ready for his game three start in Los Angeles later this weekend.

Here's what I picked up from the game:

  • If Pat Burrell can keep up what he's done all spring, which is stay inside the ball and drive it the opposite way, with power, like he did today, he'll stay in the lineup. The Giants have seen it time and time again with players like Rich Aurilia, Randy Winn, and Edgar Renteria. When these guys are best is when they're gearing towards that right-center gap. And Burrell can do it with power. 
  • Matt Cain's control tonight was outstanding. For someone who only threw 8.2 innings this whole spring, he was right on tonight. He struck out six while only walking one, and was sharp from start to finish. That's a good sign for the Giants, who were more than a little worried about Cain after his injury earlier in Cactus League play. In addition, I think Matt Cain's days of flying under the radar and being in Tim Lincecum's shadow are over. He's not the ace, but he's the horse, and everyone knows it now.
  • Miguel Tejada was robbed twice tonight. He had a quiet spring, but he had loud contact three out of four at-bats tonight, and twice was the victim of exceptional plays on defense. This is encouraging. 
  • Steve Edlefsen: Flat. Out. Dirty. He's got a funky delivery, and just can't throw the ball straight. Once he gets his walks down, he'll be a great late-inning guy. I'm not sure if anyone remembers, but Dan Runzler took a very similar path to the majors, pitching (and dominating) at every level in 2009. Edlefsen pitched at three levels in 2009, and pitched very well in Fresno last year. Everything moves downward with him, which is not a bad quality to have in the slightest. He'll make his debut in 2011. I guarantee it. 
  • Aaron Rowand just looks like he has no confidence at the plate anymore. Which is really too bad. Looked silly tonight striking out against Brett Anderson, whose curveballs were fooling people all night.
  • Sergio Romo closed it out. He got hit hard, but he got the job done. The other candidate to close, Jeremy Affeldt, looked like he was also locking it down. That forkball/changeup of his is nasty.
  • Aubrey Huff is a water buffalo. He doesn't look pretty running down balls in the outfield, but he can do it. But watching him try to throw out runners was a little painful. That's one aspect that Nate Schierholtz will always have an advantage over any of the starting Giants outfielders, and on extra-base hits or plays at the plate, that arm in right field will someday be necessary.
  • I know that it's been the story of the off-season, but the difference between 2010 Pablo Sandoval and 2011 Pablo Sandoval is so much more than just the weight. Losing that weight made him a totally different player. He's working out more, and embracing that it just has to be part of his routine now. That last play of the game exemplified it better than anything so far. There's no way Fat Panda makes that play in 2010, and to make it in a Spring Training game is showing how far his efforts have taken him.

Lots more that will have to go somewhere someday, but there's a game going on in a couple hours, so let's focus more on Barry Zito vs. Gio Gonzalez today.


Guest Post: I'll Have What They're Having

Growing up in the Bay Area sports scene, I've had the luxury of being raised in an environment where young children are forced at a very young age to choose sides. Steve Young or Rich Gannon. Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds. Eric Musselman (Warriors) or Eric Musselman (Kings). 

It also means that I have friends who feel very strongly about teams other than the Giants. Samuel Lam, 49ers beat writer for the SF Examiner and power source for Green Eggs and Lam, is a fan of the Oakland Athletics, and has been gracious enough to write a guest post for Archway Number Nine. Without further ado...

I don’t remember what year it was when I went to my first Oakland Athletics game; but I remember that I was still a young lad in elementary school. The Raiders had not returned to Oakland and you could see the Oakland Hills behind the bleachers. The sun was out and in the middle of the gorgeous sunny summer day. I fell in love with baseball.

From that day on, the Oakland A’s were my team. Since I grew up in the East Bay, getting to the Coliseum was much easier than trying to get all the way to Candlestick Park for a game. And since I was an A’s fan, the Giants weren’t a team I paid attention to growing up. 

Even though I never made any effort to pay attention to the Giants as I started to get into baseball, I had friends who liked them that constantly talked about them. From high school all the way through college and even today, most of my friends who like baseball are Giants fans. So just by association with them, I know a lot about the team. 

It was hard for me grasp the “rivalry” between the Giants and A’s because other than the 1989 World Series, the Bay Area teams had never met in the playoffs. Even when they brought in interleague play back in 1997, there wasn’t any true animosity from me towards the Giants. It wasn’t until high school where I made friends who were Giants fans did I start to get a taste of it.


Uribe, DeRosa, and the Water Buffalo Defense in 2011

Henry Schulman, who covers the Giants beat for the San Francisco Chronicle, published this via Twitter last night. 

Mmmm...candy bar.
It reminded me of a word that has been thrown around Giants camp for the last few years, really since Pablo Sandoval came onto the scene. 

1. Used, serving, or working in several capacities as needed, especially
a. Prepared to play any of the smaller theatrical roles on short notice: a utility cast member.
b. Capable of playing as a substitute in any of several positions: a utility infielder.
Look at that. It's in the dictionary!

a. Exceeding a norm: supersaturate.
b. Excessive in degree or intensity: supersubtle.
c. Containing a specified ingredient in an unusually high proportion: superphosphate.
That one's in the dictionary, too.

Now, if we combine the two, we get super-utility, which, in the past couple years, has been a label applied to Sandoval (1B/3B/C), Mark DeRosa (1B/3B/SS/2B/LF), Juan Uribe (2B/3B/SS), and even Eugenio Velez (2B/OF/PH/really?).

We've seen how it worked out with Uribe (beautifully), especially last season. In Spring Training, Uribe didn't even have a regular starting position, but it was known that he was going to be playing a lot.

Then Freddy Sanchez wasn't ready for Opening Day, so Uribe played the first 14 games at second base, hitting .320 and driving in 11 runs. Then Edgar Renteria missed the month of May (and June), and Uribe took over at shortstop.

Then Pablo Sandoval decided that he didn't like hitting anymore, and Uribe stepped in at third for awhile before going back to hitting homeruns from the shortstop position. In the playoffs, Uribe played third, paving the way for Renteria to win the World Series.


In Which Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz Write Thank You Notes (For Now)

This is not the good news I was looking for.

Aaron Rowand was kind of on the San Francisco Giants roster bubble. At least for all of us who know how to read. Now, Cody Ross is injured, so he's pretty much a lock, as our friend Grant tells us over at McCovey Chronicles.

It isn't exactly a great situation for the Giants, but it is good for both Nate Schierholtz and Aaron Rowand. The Giants have been dying for any excuse to keep Rowand on the roster, and losing their starting right-fielder does just that.

With Ross out, the Giants will most likely move Andres Torres to right field and have Rowand start the year in center. That also means that they'll need another outfielder on the roster, which is why Nate Schierholtz's job looks safe(r) now as well.

That also means that (need for outfielder) > (need for third-string first baseman), which leaves Travis Ishikawa without a spot. Speculation was that it would be easier to move Schierholtz, but with Ross and his health in question, it seems more rational to keep Nate and move Travis.

Torn calves are not easy to recover from, so don't be surprised if Ross takes multiple 15-day stints on the DL. That will keep Rowand and Schierholtz on the roster for at least another month, and give them some time to (a) prove they can produce for the Giants, or (b) prove that someone else can utilize their services.

Again, this is unfortunate for the Giants, and given their track record of NOT being the Mets, Ross's injury is a perfect opportunity for them to keep Aaron Rowand on the roster. Hopefully they don't miss The Boss too much.


Fear (for) the Beard

Hurt Brian is Sad Brian. (AP Photo)
Brian Wilson is hurt!

Let the madness begin. Some headlines are already there. Most of which are referring to buzz phrases like "oblique muscle" and "out for opener" and "former Beach Boy still playing guitar" and "PANIC PANIC PANIC".

I'm not exactly in panic mode yet. If anyone has seen anything on Brian Wilson in the past year, you'll know that he actually tore his oblique muscle in his major league debut and then pitched another inning afterwards. That doesn't exactly mean that he can pitch through a season with a strained oblique, but it does mean that he knows how to deal with pain.

Wilson is now questionable for Opening Day. I agree, that's not the ideal situation for the Giants, but it is a situation that ballclubs have to learn to deal with. Take what happened in Minnesota after Joe Nathan went down. That's what can happen in the best of situations.

Or you could look at what happened to the Giants after super-closer Robb Nen. Matt Herges, Dustin Hermanson, Brad Hennessey, Tyler Walker, Tim Worrell, Armando Benitez...that list even includes Dave Burba (yay 2004!). But that's worst case scenario.

Now, in 2011, Brian Wilson is claiming that there's no question that he'll be back by Opening Day. But just in case. Who should take over?

Off the top of my head, it has to be between Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo. I'd throw in Dan Runzler too, as a stopgap, but I don't know if he's going to even make the Opening Day roster, much less fill in as the closer.

Affeldt can do it. But the Giants love using Affeldt as a setup guy. Javier Lopez is great in the lefty specialist role, but sometimes you just need a lefty who can get everyone out, and Affeldt can definitely do that. His repertoire definitely reflects that he used to be a starter (fastball, curveball, changeup, slider), and he just doesn't have that out pitch that all closers need.

Runzler has good enough stuff that at some point, people started speculating that the Giants should trade Wilson before he flops and make Runzler their closer. And then the Giants won the World Series, and all those people shut the hell up, because that's just preposterous. And now the Giants are making him a starter.

I think the ball has to go to Sergio Romo in a pinch. He's just flat out dirty. He can't throw the ball straight, but he doesn't walk people. He's got strikeout stuff, and just enough to fool people in the beginning of the year until Wilson comes back. And of course, if you need a replacement beard for The Beard, look no further than Romo.

Brian Wilson proclaims he is on track. I feel guilty every time I don't believe him.

By the way... 1) no beard, 2) related topic - Charlie Sheen? 3) related topic - TODD ZEILE?

In the meantime, if you haven't seen it, this is why everyone has to buy Showtime. EVERYONE.


Roster Crunch: Aaron the Gamer vs. Nate the Great

It's a classic battle between low socks and high socks. High socks wins.

By now we've seen why keeping Barry Zito despite his hefty pricetag makes sense. But the Giants have another monster on their hands, and that's Aaron Rowand.

Unfortunately, while there are a lot of teams that would love to have a fourth or fifth starter that had an ERA around 4.00 and that could log 200 innings of solid pitching, there aren't that many that are looking for an outfielder that can only play center who doesn't really hit for power or average all that consistently.

That's what Rowand is. And with Andres Torres taking over in center, NLCS MVP Cody Ross pretty much guaranteed the starting right-fielder, and Pat Burrell/Mark DeRosa providing a nice patient, power-laden, probably promiscuous pair in left (ALLITERATION ALERT!), that last outfield spot comes down to Rowand and Nate Schierholtz.

And if you're comparing those two nice people for the final roster spot, it's a really tough decision. If you're just comparing the statistics, it gets a lot easier. Let's break it down in complicated math terms.

First up: OFFENSE
Aaron Rowand (career): .276/.335/.432
Nate Schierholtz (career): .270/.314/.399
Easy, right? Rowand gets on base more, hits for more power, and is more of a gamer. I mean, come on, how many times has Nate Schierholtz broken his nose in order to make the catch? None times.

Let's try again. But lets go off what Rowand has done since signing his deal with the Giants in 2008.
Aaron Rowand (Giants): .257/.318/.405
Nate Schierholtz (Giants): .270/.314/.399
So now they're comparable. Kind of.

With Zito, the money can't influence your decision, because pitching is so flukey that you'd rather overpay for consistency than gamble on unproven talent. So even though he makes $20M/yr to have an ERA of 4.00 and win 13 games, it's better than Brad Hennessey/Pat Misch/Matt Palmer in 2008.

In the field, and at the plate, however, things are different. Rowand doesn't exactly have the power numbers to merit keeping him despite his average faults (a la Pat Burrell). He's not exactly a guy who sprays gap-to-gap either, like Schierholt or Torres. His strikeout ratio has gone up (4.63 SO/BB, 21% overall in 2010), while Schierholtz's has only gone down (1.90 SO/BB, 15%).

It also seems that Rowand, like Sisyphus of Greek myth, is perpetually rolling over an outside pitch to shortstop, only to have it roll back, requiring him to do it again. And again. And again. Last year he grounded out 112 times in 331 at-bats.

Rowand's batting value, as explained here, is also less than Schierholtz's. Honestly, WAR still goes over my head sometimes, but I know that some numbers are bigger than other numbers and in certain situations, that means someone is better than someone else.

Schierholtz, however, is showcasing pretty well this spring, hitting at a .302 clip. He's a streaky hitter, but it's hard to gauge what he's done without a full season under his belt. He played in more games than ever last year (137), but he had less at-bats because of his usefulness as a defensive replacement.

He's also (surprisingly) a much better hitter as a pinch-hitter (.333/.381/.453), and against left-handed pitching (.354/.390/.500). Rowand is a career .209 hitter off the bench, and is pretty consistent regardless of what side of the rubber the pitcher is throwing from, hitting .275 against righties and .278 against southpaws.

So when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the offensive stats and roles, Aaron Rowand isn't that much better, if at all, than Nate Schierholtz.

Moving on: DEFENSE
Schierholtz UZR 6.4/17.9 Arm +3.4
Rowand UZR 1.9/3.3 Arm -0.7
Those are the UZR numbers from last year. Rowand did win a Gold Glove in Philadelphia, but he's not Andres Torres. And without corner outfielder offensive numbers...let's just say that no one gets super excited about a left-fielder with outstanding range.

Schierholtz also has a cannon in right field, and although he doesn't seem that fast, he gets around right field very well, playing the wall at AT&T as well as Randy Winn ever did. Rowand has an arm, as he showed during the playoffs, but Schierholtz is an arm that opposing players think twice about running on.

Nate came in to 96 games as a sub last year. Rowand came into 29. And both of their inability to play multiple outfield positions hurts them. But with Torres and even Cody Ross showing the ability to play centerfield, Rowand becomes expendable.

With replacements readily available, Schierholtz ($416,500 in 2010) is both a better fit on the team and on the payroll than Rowand and his $12M contract.


It's hard because Rowand took his demotion with a lot of professionalism last year, but accepting a demotion and earning a spot are two very different things. It would be a lot easier if he was Milton Bradley, or JaMarcus Russell, but he's not.

If they can't find a trade partner, they might have to release him and eat the contract. But eating Rowand's contract is definitely going down easier than Zito's would. And I hate to say it, but that's just baseball.


Can't Stop Partying

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series! Can you believe it? I'm pretty sure everyone can remember like it was yesterday, but as last Monday's broadcast of the Giants-Rangers Cactus League rematch showed us, victory is still as sweet as that hangover-curing orange juice at 10:30 AM on November 2 of last year.

And what better way to relive that feeling than to watch it over. And over. And over.

Now, if you didn't have your credit card ready the day after the final pitch was thrown to buy the official DVD with hat and signed baseball and cork from the clubhouse champagne for $159.99, you can just turn on the TV.

Comcast SportsNet's Legends: 2010 San Francisco Giants was pretty great. I watched it right after Gary Brown walk-offed the Dodgers, which also happened to be my birthday, which was the best birthday present ever.

The interviews were great, featuring Andres Torres, Sergio Romo, Aubrey Huff, and Tim Lincecum, among others. Bruce Bochy, Larry Baer, Will Clark, Rich Aurilia, and Kruk and Kuip also contributed.

It follows the team throughout the season, starting with Brian Wilson's (beardless) Spring Training playoff prediction. There were emotional times throughout the season that snapped back into my memory while watching, like the Mattingly slipup and Buster Posey's coming-out party in June. Uribe, homering. Burrell's grand slam. Uribe and Burrell homering again. Huff and Uribe going back to back. Burrell, homering. 

Although it was hindered by the lack of broadcasting rights to all the playoff games, Legends still gets you all riled up. Their use of still frames accompanied by the KNBR calls is enough to make me stand up and fist pump. And really, everyone knows we turned off the sound anyway and turned up Kruk and Kuip, so it's basically the same.

Honestly, I can't get enough of watching the Giants win the World Series. It won't get old until they repeat again this year.

If you missed the premier, it's showing again today at 9:30pm, Monday at 4:00pm, next Monday (3/28) at 1:00am, and next Thursday (3/31) at 9:30pm, on Comcast SportsNet.


Kung Fu Panda 2: Return of the Beast

Panda only chews sugar-free bubble gum now.
Pablo Sandoval was right there in the thick of it a couple years ago. He wasn't eligible for Rookie of the Year, but instead was stuck simply contending for the batting title in 2009, and finished the year leading the Giants in almost every offensive category.

This was taken in August, 2009. Basically, without Sandoval, the Giants would have Bengie Molina as their sole source of offense. Oh wait, that kind of happened anyways. Moving on.

Headed into 2010, Giants fans had been briefed in full on the exploits of Camp Panda, and how it was going to galvanize the Round Mound of Pound into action, putting to rest the rumors that Barry Zito could just safely hide behind him when Prince Fielder charged the mound.

What us fans ended up seeing was a version of Sandoval that looked more like an actual panda. Sedentary, pretty big, and not really looking like he knew what to do with a bat in his hand. His glove was significantly slower, and although he wasn't down to Bengie Molina slowness, his speed was downgraded from "surprising for his size" to "expected from a 330-pound bear that eats 30 pounds of bamboo every day."


The Zito Conundrum, and Why it's Better Than the Alternative

This is sort of a continuation of the first post, but I'd like to go over one of the things that the Barry Zito contract has pointed out to me.

People knock on Major League Baseball because it lacks a salary cap. Yet baseball (with a few exceptions) continues to be the league with the most parity, where small-budget teams are constantly competing with and beating the big-market teams.

Sure, the Yankees (No. 1 in payroll) and Red Sox (2) and Angels (8) have huge payrolls and offer lucrative contracts to players, but honestly, as we saw from this past year, those teams don't always win. The Rays (21) made the playoffs in first place, and their payroll is significantly less than the salaries of the Yankees infield.


It's Opening Day, and the Gates Are Now Open...

And the first guy in line is way into it, decked out in full uniform. He says he's on the team. Says "Bruce" has him in the starting rotation. But you have it on good authority that someone named Bruce does not want this guy in the park. Do you let him in? Or do you tell him that his tickets are no good and send him to watch through the fence in the right field archways?

It's only fitting that the first post I choose to write on this blog is in defense of Barry Zito. If you've followed my writing at all, I'm pretty much due for one. It's been over six months.

Anyways, by now most Giants faithful have seen this select piece of journalistic detective work by Bruce Jenkins. I read this and laughed. A lot. And then I woke up from my dream within a dream, realized that this piece was actually published, and laughed some more.