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They Will Pitch Well and Make Us All Gloomy with RISP Stats and Other Predictions for the Coming Months

Hello, darlings, and apologies for my semi-accidental absence.  I ended up spending the weekend lying under a large shady tree just bein’ lazy, as Bing Crosby might say, and watching/listening to baseball in the moments that I was not doing aforementioned laziness.  No time for blogging, see what I mean?

Anyway, now that it’s the last day of the first month of the season and we have an off day at last (thank you, Bud Selig, you’re the best-ish), I am back to break everything down.  April has been a strange month for the Giants, but then again, isn’t it always?  You can’t say any of the games mean anything but it is certainly important in terms of getting to know the team’s personality on the field and often, I think, if you look back at April at the end of the season, you’ll see a lot of things that now look like psychic hints, even if they weren’t the least bit apparent at the time.

So!  I’m just going to go on that hypothesis.  If April tells us everything we need to know about this team, what does that mean for them?   Observe, 2012 Trends for the Gigantes:

Hair Will Disappear

Why would I think this, you ask?  Nod to Timmy’s haircut and Brian Wilson’s season-ending Tommy John surgery.  The hair everywhere trend is so 80s, you know.  The Giants are just now getting clued into this and life has never been better.  In that sense, at least.

The Whole Season Will Feel the Dog Days of August, aka WEIRD

I am staunchly convinced that April felt like August this year, so you probably will not be able to dissuade me, no matter what you try.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I direct you to the weird injuries like Buster Posey’s shingles and Aubrey Huff’s anxiety disorder.  Stuff like that is supposed to happen when everyone is wiped out from a long season.  We’re in for that all year, it would seem.  I am going to need to break out my extraordinary multitude of virtual Get Well Soon cards soon.

This Will Be the Year of the Triples

You heard it here first.  Of course, you saw it first on the field with Angel Pagan and Nate Schierholtz and people, but hearing is more important than seeing so I win, in this situation.  Anyhow, I have always been of the opinion that triples are the secret weapon of playing at AT&T Park so they should probably, you know, utilize that.  This year will be the year that Happens with a capital H.

Interleague Play Will Be a Drag

Okay, no proof here.  But it always is, so that’s just a safe assumption, right?  Until they play the Rangers, that is.  That will be wondrous, of course.

They Will Pitch Well and Make Us All Gloomy with RISP Stats

Safe assumption, 2.0.

But really, I am encouraged.  April has not been disastrous, mostly, and blue skies show summer is coming.  Baseball is just getting started.  Restock the orange juice and settle in.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Yu Darvish is on ESPN tonight which means I can fine-all-ee watch him.  I am so excited you do not even know.  The Rangers were also in ESPN last night, facing the Rays, and I remembered that Jeff Keppinger is with them now.  Remember him, Giants fans?  He had an RBI in the Rays 5-2 victory.  This is Emily’s miffed face, right here.

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Caught Between Rock (Kepp) and a Hard Place (Font)

No offense to Jeff Keppinger and Mike Fontenot, because I’m sure they are both wonderful guys, but do you all know the phrase “between a rock and a hard place”?  The Giants were distinctly there last night, at the (not especially tender) non-tender deadline. 

Because San Fran is apparently really tight on cash these days, they could only keep one of the aforementioned guys and in the end, it was Fontenot.  Personally, I was more partial to Kepp, but I mean, really?  That’s not, er, the most fantastic pool to choose from right there.  In addition to which, they’re pretty much the two people on the roster who I always forgot about, so I’d be lying if I said this move was going to have a big impact on my life.

The other guy they let walk was Eli Whiteside, who I did actually have a bit of an affinity for.  I’m not sure if it was the grey hair or the occasional homerun, but I did like having him on the team.  Then again, you know how I feel about Chris Stewart, so if this means for playing time for him, then I’m happy.  Who knows, Whiteside could get a better gig somewhere else.  Looking for a catcher, Rangers?  I know you are.

Speaking of which, we have a bit of other news in the former-Giant vein!  Aaron Rowand signed a minor league with the (wait for it) Marlins yesterday.  I hope he has a good time in Miami and all but, well, they do have a lot, a lot of players.   I would guess that’s going to be the hardest team to make, out of spring team.   Seeing as they have an 80 man roster or so, what with the players they had before they went on the spending spree and the players they have now.   They’re going to need a couple of planes and buses to take the team anywhere!

And Travis Ishikawa signed a deal with the Brew Crew, which makes me inordinately happy.  Stop it with the Prince Fielder comparisons already, people. Trav (fab nickname, right?) was one of the best pinch hitters in the game in 2010 and I think Milwaukee is lucky to have him around.

Yes, I’m still mad about how the Giants (mis)treated him at the ring ceremony at the beginning of the season.  Take note, Milwaukee.  If you win a championship he needs to be there, uniform and all.  Please and thank you.


In other news, Oakland may soon be entirely team-less with the Warriors mulling a move that would put them side-by-side the Giants, the Raiders talking Santa Clara and the A’s, of course, pushing San Jose.  Nothing seems imminent and the city of Oakland is making their own push now (with a glitzy mock-up featuring a fantastic hotel, no less) but it’s a pretty feeble push on their part.

I’m a Giants fan and all, but it still seems pretty stubborn for the Giants to block the San Jose move so firmly.  Especially if they get the Warriors next door.  Share the love, folks.  There’s room for everybody.  And how much more revenue could they possibly lose?  They’re already too pressed for money to get Kepp and Font, both.

We have a strange train of events playing out here.  But welcome back, Mike Fontenot.  I’m sure I’ll stop forgetting about you when you completely over-perform in 2012.

Diamond Girl

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162 Things I Loved About 2011 In San Francisco Giants-Land

In no particular order, in honor of the 162 games of the regular season…

162.  The walk-off on Opening Day for the second consecutive year.  And provided some awesome entertainment along the way as I drove to Fresno to see the Grizzlies Opening Night.

161.  The new and improved Pablo Sandoval.

160.  The rather awesome drama and content they provided for their reality show.

159.  Heck, they had a reality show!

158.  They carried first place for a good long while, even though they didn’t finish with it.

157.  They had All Stars.  A whole bunch of them.

156.  They gave me bragging rights for life.   We got Carlos Beltran.  (Never mind what happened afterwards.)

155.  They kinda massacred the Chamber of Horrors, aka Coors Field.

155.  NATE.  That is all.

154.  Their hitting coach who takes, “Reach for the moon, if you fall down, at least you’ll fall in the stars” very literally.  Like, he’s-going-to-the-moon literally.  It’s sure to bode well for the offense in the future.

153.  They chewed gum at the White House.  It was strangely endearing.

152.  Heck, they went to the White House!

151.  They were so resilient I can’t even express it in words.  Well, maybe I could.  But I have a whole lot more of these to write, so I’m not going to get into it.

150.  Santiago Casilla and his epic and previously undiscovered closing skills.

149.  Brett.                                   

148.  And Brandon.

147.  And, oh, the other Brandon too.

145.  The multitude of B’s!

144.  The incredibly pleasant surprise that was Eric Surkamp in his first start back.

142.  And the incredibly pleasant surprise that was Ryan Vogelsong all around.

141.  Chris Stewart.  And his brainiac-ness.  And his overall awesomeness.

140.  The fact that AT&T Park exists and is amazingly beautiful.  Pays to remember that, every now and then, right?

139.  D-Ro having a few more special moments.  I really hope he’s back next year in some way.

138.  Madison and his trademarked first inning meltdowns.  And yes, that he was otherwise amazing.

137.  Bruce Bochy.  ‘Nuff said.

136.  Conor Gillaspie(The name!  The name!)

135.  Those special little moments when Guillermo Mota came in for long relief and just saved us all.

134.  Getting to see Travis Ishikawa one last time, when he got his ring.

133.  OH!  Yes!  The ring ceremony…

132 …and the mismatched, mint colored boxes the rings came in…

131. …and Sergio Romo goofing off at the ceremony…

130.  …and seeing Nuekom with his adorable bowtie there (though, unfortunately, it wasn’t orange) one more time.

129.  There was also Vogey’s lovely little speech when he got the Willie Mac Award.  

128.  Remember when Tim Flannery, third base coach, sang the National Anthem?  Epic.

127.  The crazy thunder storm/rain delay in Detroit.  And the way the broadcasters filled the empty time.  That was magical.

126.  Kepp’s walk-off vs. the Astros.  So there, Houston.

124.  Crawford’s grand-slam in his first game against Milwaukee.  Remember that?  Goosebumps and smiles.

123.  The prank Ross et al. played on Huff.  Which we got to see because of aforementioned reality show.

122.  Did I mention, THE GIANTS HAD A REALITY SHOW?

121.  When Brandon Belt met a baby giraffe and took pictures with it.  That may actually be my favorite moment of the entire year.  Seriously, how utterly fantastic?

120.  That they never missed a beat, even after the loss of Posey and then Sanchez.

119.  Timmy back to being Timmy, for the most part.

118.  And Timmy and Matt Cain both reached 1000th career strikeouts, which was fabulous.

117.  Finishing ahead of the Padres.  Vendetta?  Yes, vendetta.

116.  Romo shaving.  Because that may imply that other people will shave soon.

115.  coughcoughBrianWilsoncoughcough

114.  NATE.   Again.

113.  And Nate’s upper deck shot in Colorado that his brother got.  Too many awesome things about that to mention.

112.  Slightly irrelevant, maybe, but Jon Miller not doing ESPN any more meant that he broadcasted for KNBR on the weekends.  Which was enough to make the season, right there.

111.  Together, We’re Giant.  It actually grew on me.  (But It’s Time is still, and always will be, better.)

110.  The “sellouts”.  Because they seriously cracked me up.  Especially when the upper deck was e-m-p-t-y.

109.  The little Sabean moment in Moneyball.   When Billy Beane totally played the Giants.  My rational mind was outraged and the rest of me was snickering.

108.  Watching Pablo’s defense just reappear before our very eyes.

107.  Being there for Carlos Beltran’s 300th career homerun.

106.  And speaking of homeruns… Brandon Belt had a couple to remember.

105.  And when Brandon Belt made the club out of spring training and it felt like nothing could possibly go wrong.

104.  The fact that some people didn’t get injured.  Can’t think of any?  No, I’m sure there were a few.

103.  The fact that Aubrey Huff always has good years after bad ones.  Most definitely.  This bodes well for 2012.

102.  While I hated that the cost for parking doubled, I think it was because they won the World Series. And I do love that.  So, by extension, I love the new parking rates.  Sort of.

101.  The Churros guy.  If you’ve ever been to a Major League ballpark, you know what I mean.

100-50. Looking at the new lineup every day, usually with my mouth gaping wide open.

49.  The few nice Zito moments.  They were there.  And they were smile-inducing.

48.  The fact that the year after the championship, while it wasn’t exactly a success, was not a collapse either.  This was a pennant race right down until the end.

47.  Can I just say one more thing about Chris Stewart?  His first Major League homerun rocked.

46.  When Edgar came back, if only for a bit.  *sniffles*

45.  And remember when Uribe came back?  *sniffles again*

44.  I also liked riding my first roller coast (no, really.  It’s related.) because it drove home that this season was like a roller coaster.   Which is to say seriously headache inducing, but fun afterwards.

43.  I don’t know how this all worked, but I’ve been hearing Giants ads for the Not For Sale Campaign.  If they’ve partnered, then that is most certainly something I love.

42.  Jeremy’s rebound year.  Minus the frozen burger patties.

41.  That they didn’t do anything silly like start the season in Taiwan.

40.  That they rocked their doubleheader at Wrigley.

39.  Matt Cain ruled overall, as always.

38.  That they let themselves get swept by Milwaukee in May.  I’m sure they have a crystal ball and knew they wouldn’t get into the playoffs, but the Brewers could, so they gave them that series.  Very thoughtful, you know.

37.  When Pablo Sandoval decided to retweet people who said nice things about him making the All Star team and he retweeted me.  It made me a lot happier than it rationally should have.

36.  When Bruce Bochy got congratulated by Ryan Braun on winning the World Series (minute 1:40.  I know you want to see it.)  This is what I call icing on the cake, people.

35.  NATE.  One last time.  Sorry.

34-20. This is when Diamond Girl had to leave unexpectedly to sniffle in the closet for a bit at the realization that this is really the end of the 2011 season.

19.  Okay!  Back.   Let’s do a silver lining thing now: not winning the pennant means the target-on-back will lessen or disappear.  And these Giants do better when there are no Great Expectations.  Sorry, Charles Dickens.

18.  They also helped me and my new fish bond.  I am quite positive that the reason my fish seems to be liking me more is that we’ve endured the torture holed up in my room (yep, I said torture) together.

17.  That, by some luck, these players channeled enough thoughts about balking to Bob Davidson that he actually called a balk on that fateful June day.  And also gave me a great photo-editing opportunity.

16.  Emmanuel Burriss’s nickname-picky mother.

15.  That they did not take me up on my Hawaii Vacation/gold watches offers.  Which means they didn’t do that well, but it also means I won’t be in debt for the rest of my life.

14.  Totally random memory:  Pat Burrell and Eli Whiteside both hitting triples in one game.  Weird and great.

13.  The promotions their awesome TV network came up with.  Especially the Ultimate Tim Lincecum one.  (Which I, eh, won.)

12.  The players designing endearingly horrific t-shirts.

11.  That they drafted another good-name player in the draft.  That is Joe Panik.  If only for the name, it was a good pick.

10.  Walk-offs!

9.  And more walk-offs!

8.  And even more walk-offs!

7.   The power outage in St. Louis.  Now I really credit the Cardinals (read: Tony LaRussa) for that, but it was a Giants moment anyway.  And a darn memorable one, too.

6.  When Cainer demonstrated he actually does have the ability to dress well.

5.  All the opportunities they gave me to use my dearly beloved balloon-popping set of photos from Despicable Me.  Because seriously, I love those photos.  Even if it meant they broke my heart.

4.  Last thing about Chris Stewart!  I promise!  But I remember the first time I saw him do a throwdown to second.  And I think I thought it was cupcakes and brownies and cinnamon roasted almonds all mashed into one.  (And yet it was good.  All those foods mashed together probably, um, wouldn’t be.)

3.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you shouldn’t let your kids watch baseball!  It’s educational!  I mean, this year I learned what “contusion” means.  Overandoverandoveragain.

2.  It was like a magical realism book (what is a magical realism book, you ask?  Read here and be enlightened.)  Stray bits of left over magic were everywhere.  And that’s even better than full-on magic, somehow.  (Although, yes, I like full-on magic when it means winning the World Series. But don’t interrupt my poetic-ness, please.)

1.  They gave me a lot to blog about.  A lot, a lot.  So I thank them for that.  And I thank you all for bearing with me and my weirdness and my love of strange foods and for reading and commenting here as well.  It’s been a brilliant, crazy year and more fun than I can possibly express.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I need to go reminisce for a bit more and then find my antlers and morph into Ranger-Girl.  Bye-bye, 2011 season.

Diamond Girl

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It’s Okay, I Hate August Too

I really do.  I mean, what is there to like about August?

Not the too-short too-tight clothing

Not the summer fruit that is not so fresh anymore

Not the fact that summer is getting old fast

Not the dog days of baseball

See what I mean?  It’s totally understandable that the Giants would dislike that month.  But what is there to like about September?

The fresh fall fashion

The chilly breezes and brightly colored leaves

The pumpkin lattes

The stretch-run baseball

A lot.  In a nutshell.  And the Giants started off this lovely month with a bang, with a 6-2 victory over them Diamondbacks, narrowing the gap to the division lead and overall providing a serious morale boost.

Last night felt an awful lot like they were finally breaking out of something and I am massively, massively stoked (Beltran can hit!  No, really!  He can!).  I’m also happy about the ways Keppinger has found to contribute.  I wasn’t a huge fan of him, at first, but he’s really made himself beyond useful.  And he’s a misfit and a castoff and all that, so he fits in well.

Tonight is the matchup of the aces, Lincecum vs. Kennedy which is sort of scaring me, to be honest.  Remember when I said that I bake when I’m nervous?  Let’s just say in the last 24 hours I have made a) a massive batch of brownies b) 25 chocolate chip cookies c) fifteen jam filled cookies. 

It was all for a bake sale, but it certainly helped with the whole nerves thing.  I’ve also been drawing version of this adorable Miss Dior Cherie ad in my notebook.  As long as my hands are busy, I can live through this- yep, I’m going to say it- torture.  Join with me.  We can do this.

::breathes in, breathes out::

Diamond Girl

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