Tag Archives: marlins

25 Words Can Speak Volumes

Haiku #1 of the Day:

So the Marlins are

in town now and I am so

absolutely stoked

 

Haiku #2 of the Day:

Why?  Because, of course,

I am going to go to

the ballgame.  Oh, yes.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  “Yu” and “Darvish” have been pretty much the only words to come out of my mouth for the past 24 hours.  He is beyond amazing.  MLB called his start dazzling and I have to agree.

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Part Two: Henry Schulman on Predictions, Anti-Predictions and Pro Tips for Fan Fest

You can read part one of this interview here.  Yesterday, we discussed the tempers of General Managers, Henry’s career, social media in journalism and Michael Lewis’s potential Stockholm Syndrome.

I’m not much for predictions, so let’s do some reverse predictions here if you don’t mind.  Who do you think will finish in last place in the National League West next season? 

I think the Padres will finish in last place.  I think that structurally, with their revenues they just can’t compete.  I think everyone’s gotten a little better- I mean, the Dodgers didn’t do very much to improve, but their pitching is so much better- that I think they’ll end up in last.

And which team do you think will be the first to be eliminated from the playoffs?

Well, remember this year there will probably be a one game playoff between two wildcard teams, so it’s really going to depend upon who’s pitching for those teams.

It’s such a crapshoot, with a one game playoff.

It is.  But it’s a funny question so I’ll say… Atlanta again, I think.

Always!  So, with the offseason coming to a close, which team or teams would you call the winners in the game of the offseason?  Which would you call the losers?

I think you’d probably have to say the Marlins in the National League and the Angels in the American League.  I mean simply, for the Angels, from the fact that they got Pujols.  They still don’t have a great great lineup but Pujols can be such a difference-maker and I can’t say Detroit, because they picked up Fielder, but they lose V-Mart.  And Miami just had a lot of money to spend and they weren’t an awful team to begin with.  They went out and got Reyes, for starters and spent some other money, picked up some other folks.  I think probably the Marlins did more to help themselves than any other team.

So what do you think of the CJ Wilson deal with the Angels?  Do you think it will pay off or do you think CJ will fade?

What was it, a four year deal?

I think it was longer.  Five, maybe?  [Editor’s note: Five, indeed.]

Yeah, I’m not a big fan of long term deals for pitchers, but if you’re going to give a deal to somebody, somebody like Wilson would be a good guy to give it to.  I don’t think he’s had much history of arm trouble, if I’m not mistaken.

No, that’s right about him.

The other thing is that, like the Giants, the pitching staff is so strong that Wilson can come in and he doesn’t have to be number one, because they already have Weaver, so it’s a lot less pressure when you can come in and you don’t have to come in and be number one.  You can just come in and do your thing.

Of all the baseball players and executives you’ve interviewed over the years, who was the most fun or easiest to interview and why?

I get that question a lot.  I loved dealing with Rod Beck, he was a heck of a lot of fun and Omar Vizquel, too.  I know a lot of your blog readers will be happy to know that he was really a sweetheart to work with.

There really aren’t a lot of executives.  It’s not that they’re not nice, they’re just wary and they really don’t want to be friendly with reporters too much.  Same with managers.  You have a respectful relationship with them, but you don’t go out and hang with them.

On the current team, I like dealing with Matt Cain.  He’s dry, you’re not going to get an inflammatory quotes off him, but he’s a really good guy to deal with.  In fact, he and I have this running thing going, because he has such a dry sense of humor and such a good way of doing a straight face.  He gives me grief all the time and I keep telling him to this day, “I never know when you’re being serious or when you’re joking.”  And then he just smiles and walks away, like, “I gotcha.”  So Matt is good, that way.  I liked dealing with Andres Torres also, he was great.  He would always end each interview by thanking us and we would say, “No, we should be thanking you.”

Just to name a few!

Honestly… do you think we will ever see another commissioner of Major League Baseball who is not named Bud Selig?

The reason he keeps getting rehired is that he’s making the owners a lot of money with the TV deals.  Really, everything Bud has done helped the owners, who are reaping bajillions of dollars, so they love him.  But in answer to your question, I think there’s going to come a time when Bud really wants to spend his last years not dealing with all of these thirty owners every single day and all of the headaches.  I’m shocked that he signed this extension- they must have had to talk him into it, I would think, because he doesn’t need the money.  There’s no real issue hanging fire, aside from how they’re going to redo the playoffs and they certainly could have continued that, they’re already on that path.  So I would think this is going to be the last extension.  He’s not a young guy.

So how do you feel about playoff expansion- an extra wildcard, one game playoff, all of that?

I don’t think there’s a problem with the ten teams getting in, because it’s still ten out of thirty, which is still the fewest teams in major sports and I have no problem with creating more excitement.  I just don’t like a one game playoff.  I mean, I don’t even like a one game playoff that has been in place in case two teams tie for the division in a 162 game season.  What I would rather see them do is shorten the regular season to 154 games, which is what it was like before expansion and have the first wild card round be a best of three and then make the other three rounds the best of seven.  It’s like what we were talking about earlier, when you asked me who was going to be the first team eliminated.  Let’s say you’re the Giants and you need Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum to win the last two games of the season, just so you can get to that one game wildcard playoff.  Now, all of a sudden, you have to have your third starter.  I realize that in the case of the Giants that is Madison or Vogelsong, so it’s not chopped liver, but after six months and 162 games, I would want my best pitcher at least involved in the process of the playoffs.

Or at least for the team to have a chance at more than one game.

Exactly.  But they’ll never go back to an 154 game schedule, because of TV.

Who do you think us Giants fans should be watching closely in Spring Training, in particular?

I think it’s the same guy as last year and that is Brandon Belt.  He’s such a wildcard on this team right now and he could be anything from the Opening Day first baseman in San Francisco to the Opening Day first baseman in Fresno.  He supposedly fixed some hitches in his swing in the Dominican and he had a good Dominican League season, so I think he’s going to be a guy who will constantly have eyes on him.

You didn’t ask for two, but the other guy would be Wilson, because he has really spent the last six months with a bad elbow and trying to get that back into shape, so until we actually see him throw and throw consistently, we aren’t going to know who the closer is.

I read your blog with tips to Fan Fest (you can read that here, if you missed it), so I am wondered if you have any other tips you would add to that, for Giants fans who are going on Saturday?

Well, I know I sound like one of those radio traffic reporters, but I think the key thing is to take public transit.  Don’t try to drive.  You’re either going to be in a long car line or you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for parking in a private lot, somewhere.

I would also say, although it might not be high on most people’s list, but take a tour of the press box and the broadcast booths and the clubhouse as well.  Those are kind of behind the scenes things.

And like I said on the blog, stay away from the autographs.  It’s not worth your time.  Unless you happen to be one of the lucky few to get a Lincecum or a Wilson when they happen to be at the station you happened to be standing in line at for two hours.

And bring water, too.  It’ll be a warm day.

In a similar vein, for fans who are going to Spring Training this year, any pro tips?

First of all, if you don’t have accommodations or tickets now for the two busiest weekends which are the weekends of the 9th and the 17th, then it’s probably too late.  People always tend to come around those two weeks because the Giants have their investors down there one weekend a year and because of that they schedule nothing but home games for the whole weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday so a lot of fans pick that time because all the games are in Scottsdale and everything is a zoo.

So if you have the time and you’re available, I would actually recommend coming for the first weekend of games because not only will it be less crowded, but you’ll get to see a lot more of the kids coming up.  You might actually get to see Andrew Susac catching an inning or Gary Brown playing four or five innings in center field, which you might not get to see later on.

Another tip which I don’t know if I’ve ever written is that if there’s any restaurant that you’ve heard of or think you might want to go to, make your reservation now.  Like if you want to go to Don and Charlie’s, the steak and rib place that a lot of baseball people go to, don’t wait to make a reservation.

Another tip is that I know everyone wants to hang out in Scottsdale, but it can be a lot easier to get tickets and autographs if you go on the road, with the Giants.  If you happen to be in town when they’re playing the Reds in Goodyear, because Goodyear is so far out and you don’t have a lot of people from Cincinnati living in the Phoenix area, it’s fairly easy to get tickets and then the team shows up an hour or 45 minutes before the game starts and they’ve got nothing to do and no clubhouse to go into, so they’ll stand out there and sign autographs.

I don’t know how closely you’ve looked at the schedule yet, but what is one matchup in the coming season for the Giants you think we should looking out for?

The first one that jumped off the page for me was that we’re in Florida, right off the bat, in late May or so and it’s the one year anniversary of when Cousins ran into Posey, so that’s the one that jumped out at me.

Opening Day is also going to be intriguing for me because we’re opening in Arizona and the Giants always tend to start with the Dodgers, more years than not, and it always seems to be Lincecum and Kershaw (or for a while it was Zito and Kershaw) and Lincecum doesn’t do very well against Kershaw so, it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like on Opening Day, Lincecum against Kennedy.

What is one thing nobody asks you that you wish they did?

I think one thing is how long I want to stay at the Chronicle.  I’d be honored to stay there as long as I’m still kicking.  I’ve been the Giants beat writer at the Chronicle longer than anybody else except Bob Stevens who was the first Giants beat writer there and Bob was kind of a saintly guy to me, so if I could actually catch him, which would probably take another six or seven years, I’d be thrilled.

Lastly, what do you think is the rewarding part of your job and what is the most difficult part?

I always answer the second part of the question first, so I would say the most difficult part is the travel, there’s no question about that.  It’s just very wearing, the constant being on airplanes and in hotels.  It sounds glamorous, but when you’re in Cincinnati for the 34th time… you can see everything in Cincinnati the first time, no offense to them.  But that’s really the hardest part.  I’m not married now, but when I was married it was difficult, always being away.

And the most rewarding part is that I really do not only give people information they want but I entertain them as well.  The feedback I get from readers like yourself is great.  Sometimes when I write a 30 paragraph story and I say something in the 30th paragraph that’s controversial and then I get an email from someone saying, “What the heck are you talking about?!” I realize that person read the whole story.  Really, a whole generation of Giants fans at various papers kind of grew up with me as their main conduit between the players and the readers and that’s the most rewarding part, no question.

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The 2011/2012 Offseason, or In Which the Marlins Grab Players and Everyone Else Blinks and Watches

I am in a much bouncier mood than I’ve been in a long time.  Because there are no boxing tweets in my Twitter timeline!  There are actually tweets about baseball!  There is actually baseball news!

Well, some baseball news.  Mostly it’s beat writers musing on the pointlessness of bringing so many media members to Dallas to mill around in the lobby.  In fact, my favorite Winter Meetings quote ever which completely sums it up was from Rangers beat writer, T.R. Sullivan last year, “Talked with Red Sox manager Terry Francona 1-on-1 in the lobby today and he told me exclusively, ‘Hey TR, good to see you.’”  Isn’t Sullivan awesome?

But still, something is better than nothing.  And we have something, for sure.

Heath Bell is in Florida.  So is Jose Reyes.  So might be C.J. Wilson, Cody Ross, heck, Brandon Belt!  Yeah, Brandon might be going to the fab new Marlins stadium.  I mean, probably not, but them Marlins do seem to be getting just about everyone, so who knows?

We might as well rename this: The 2011/2012 Offseason, or In Which the Marlins Grab Players and Everyone Else Blinks and Watches.

Fun, right?  The Giants are not expected to be big buyers this year (then again, are they ever?) and the Rangers are busy mixing cocktails or whatever because hosting this shebang is a full-time job, so they probably won’t do much either.

That means I am free to sit back and enjoy the show and speculate as to what it’s like when Jon Daniels and Jed Hoyer run into each other in the back hallway. 

Right now I’m thinking it’s all:

Jed:  Hey, you hear I’m with the Cubs now?

Jon: *grunts*

Jed: Pretty spiffy, what we’re doing over there.  Even SF Diamond Girl predicted we’d go to the World Series in ‘13 or ’14.

(At this point fantasy ends abruptly.)

Okay, that last part probably didn’t happen.  But this is my blog, à la my dream in Inception, so I can just make it go however I like.  Which definitely means references to yours truly.

I think I need to do another GM roundtable in honor of these meetings now.  Can you tell how smiley I am, even through cyberspace?  This is quite possibly my favorite time of year, baseball-wise, which means altogether.  Yes, I am a wee bit odd.  Yes, I am aware.  Yes, I appreciate you telling me, even so.

Work it out, Jed and Jon.  You guys will be meeting at a roundtable tomorrow and I want no bickering.

Diamond Girl

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Ed Wade KNEW IT

Well, not to get all I-told-you-so on you, but I did tell you so.

Let’s flash back to July 30th, 2011 at about 5:03 pm, when I posted a blog post titled, “An Epic Gathering of All 30 General Managers for a Round Table Chat About the Trade Deadline”.  In it, all the GMs basically talked smac- that is, shop- with one another.  What were Ed Wade’s words?

Ed Wade, Astros- I’ve loved working with all of you.  Really, I have.  If my job, ahem, something, ahem, happens to it.  You all are the best.  (At this point he takes out a blue and white checkered hankie and dabs his eyes.)

Theo Epstein, Red Sox- (Looking at Wade with distaste.)  You know, Ed, your name has always reminded me of that odd Johnny Depp movie, Ed Wood?  Remember it?  It’s about the arguably worst film maker even.  Ironic.  (He smirks and pauses.) [cont.]

And while that may seem like it was Wade predicting his own demise, no, it was me.  He didn’t really say that, I came up with it.  Or at the very least, Theo did.  Theo, who is now with the Cubbies.  Huh.  Times have changed.

Anyway, today it was announced that the ‘Stros have indeed fired him and are potentially, maybe, kinda-sorta considering Thad Levine for the job.  I am selfish and want Levine to stay in Texas (wait, that doesn’t work.  I mean, stay with the Rangers) forever after, but at the same time, I think he’s pretty fabulous and would probably do good things for the Astros.  Now that they’re in the AL, my Giants-half is just fine with them doing well. 

And did you hear about CJ meeting with the Marlins?  I will spare you another player-meets-with-team script, but… those Marlins.  Phew.  They are courting with a capital C.  Will it work?  Will it flop?  Tune in to [station] at [time] to see.

Diamond Girl

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How I Imagine a Marlins/Reyes Meeting Would Go Down

Miami, Florida.  Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 around noon.  Traditional Florida things like crocodiles and alligators or whatever are in the vicinity, poking their noses into the scene.

Jose Reyes walks up and shakes hands with team president, David Samson, owner, Jeffrey Loria and GM, Michael Hill.  Reyes is wearing some jeans that droop ever so slightly and are distressed, ever so slightly.  Aviator sunglasses and a punk(ish) t-shirt complete the über-hip look.

Samson, Loria and Hill are in slightly (slightly?) less hip outfits.  Men’s Warehouse type suits, that is.

Samson:  Jose!  Great to see you.

Loria:  Yes, definitely, Mr. Reyes.  (He emphasizes the last word and shoots a death-stare to Samson.)

Hill (interjects):   How was your flight?

Reyes (yawns):  Oh, alright.  Thanks, guys.

(At this point there is a long, somewhat awkward silence.)

Samson:  So, Jose!  Would you like to see the new stadium maybe?  Have a bite to eat?

Jose (finally actually looks at him and then all of them)Where are your suits from?

(Beat.)

Hill:  Um, I don’t remember where I bought it.  Why do you ask?

Jose:  I am positive that I saw that suit at Men’s Warehouse.  Are you kidding me?  Is this a joke?  You expect me to sign with a team so cheap that they buy their suits at Men’s Warehouse?

Samson (triumphantly):  How would you know it was at Men’s Warehouse?  You couldn’t know that unless you shopped there yourself!  (Shoots a look to Loria which is all, I just got in a major line for you.  Loria has an stunning impassive face on.)

Reyes (glares):  Whatever, dudes. 

Loria:  In fact, our payroll is going up a lot in the coming year, Mr. Reyes.  We are hardly cheap.

Hill:  Indeed!  We’re going to making a lot of positive acquisitions to make this team a serious contender.

Reyes (pondering):  Florida Marlins… serious contender…

Loria:  Miami Marlins, you mean.  Miami Marlins.

Reyes (puzzled):  Whatever, dudes.

Samson:  Well, then.  Want some of our amazing new cuisine we’ll be offering at the new stadium?   Some caviar, maybe?

Reyes (puts up hand, warningly):  Sorry, no can do.  I’m on a new, nutritionist recommended diet, so I only eat one food group per day.  Fish day is Sunday.  Sorry.

Loria:  What food is it today?

Reyes:  Wednesday is… I forgot… (pulls out white iPhone and scrolls for a bit.  At last-)  Oh.  You know, it was nice meeting with you guys.  If you want to make an offer to my agent, you can, but I really gotta get going. 

Loria:  We have so many awesome amenities, not to mention our new logo an—

(He stops, because Reyes has sauntered off, with his patented Baseball Player Stride.  The three men stand there in silence for a bit, and then Samson leaves, bent on getting a new suit and putting a clause in his contract that makes sure he will never have to meet with a player again.)

Diamond Girl

p.s.  If you head over and like my Facebook page (link on your right) I can promise you a lifetime supply of Chinese food to your doorstep, every night, around 7.  If you’re an early diner, you’re out of luck.  Or if you move, because it’ll keep going to the same address.  What a gift to bequeath to the next owner of your house, though!  So you should go like it now.  Xoxo and all that.

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