GIFtastic Roundup: Week 2

14 Apr

I’m two for two in posting this! That’s an accomplishment, especially since I really want to take the off day to stare blindly at my television and taking a pre-bedtime nap.

In any case, we had the Diamondbacks and Rockies this week for our round-up. Just to be completely candid, I was attending most of the games as a spectator so may have missed some key GIFable moments. Regardless, here are the Top 5 I saw this week:

#5. Balldude employs unusual techniques

Here’s the opening day balldude (and friend, Rick Beleson – hey Rick!) using his entire body to get in the way of this ball. Hey, go big or go home, amirite?

#4. Angel Pagan welcomes a small child in a big t-shirt 

Just let your heart melt away, into the floor. My favorite Sunday tradition brings us this GIF of Pagan welcoming this adorable child wearing a ginormous t-shirt:

#3 Brandon Crawford Bat Drop 

You don’t drop a bat like Crawford unless you know that baby is GONE, and man, was it ever. This splash-hit 10th inning walk-off home run deserved this Grade-A bat drop:

#2. Madison Bumgarner post-grand slam snot rocket

Madison Bumgarner hit a grand slam like a total boss, and the first thing he does? Blows his signature snot rocket. Ain’t no thang.

#1. Buster Posey IS America

This footage is snagged from opening day but they played it back during yesterday’s broadcast and well, it’s the most god-damn American thing I’ve ever seen. I want to join the army or something. Does anyone else want to join the army?

As always, tips, suggestions, and favorite GIFs are welcome in the comments section. Thanks for checking this out!

 

GIFtastic Roundup: Week 1

7 Apr

Another season. Another year of graphic interchange formats for everyone to enjoy (everyone = mainly me).

Due to the popular response on Twitter and how well-received it was in 2013, I decided to bring the GIF Roundup back. This will be my super-professional editorial VIP opinion on the best Giants GIFs of the week.

Feel free to use  the comments area with feedback or GIFs you want to see next week!

So without further adieu, I present to you… week numero uno of the 2014 season:

#5. Miguel Montero tags out Angel Pagan

On the rear end. Noteworthy because this was the first play of the season. Of course it was. Way to start strong, everyone.

#4. Sergio Romo perfects his Romo-Bomb on Andy Baggarly 

Because what would a season be without several Romo-Bombs?

#3. Brandon Belt perfects the rundown 

After a botched rundown against the Diamondbacks, it looks like Brandon Belt felt the need to work out the kinks. He’s obviously very excited to have gotten it right in practice.

#2. Dodgers fan topples down the stairs

The important part is the guy is alright. The more important part is that a Dodgers fan fell down a small flight of stairs to get a ground rule double. THERE IS NO WHERE ELSE TO GET BASEBALLS HE HAD TO GO AFTER IT.

#1. Bruce Bochy continues to be wonderful 

This is the best. Bruce Bochy tries to distract as Pat Burrell takes some BP. Any time I can see Bochy acting like a clown (or smiling, or running, or anything), it makes me pretty happy.

I’ll follow up this post with some nice defensive and offensive plays from the week. Keep an eye out!

Welcome back, everyone! See you at Opening Day tomorrow!

More on the Damon Bruce debacle

11 Nov

I really wasn’t going to continue writing on the Damon Bruce topic because, quite frankly, I’m pretty sick of it. But then this article from Awful Announcing surfaced. And then this piece by Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation. And well, we’re back to square one, aren’t we?

First of all, I’d like to reiterate that I’ve never once wanted Damon Bruce to get fired. I’m generally not someone who rallies the villagers to bring me the head of the monster in the woods, and this was no exception. Do I believe that there should be some repercussions for what he said? Yes. Do I advocate that KNBR should take action or their reputation will be sullied? Definitely. But in truth, second chances are far too rare in this world and I hope that Bruce gets his chance to prove that he’s not the person he portrayed himself as last week.

To clear up any misconceptions from my previous article on Bruce, I’m totally on board with saying what you want and voicing your opinion, but saying EVERYTHING on your mind is not brave, it’s just careless. You are absolutely free to do whatever you like, and say whatever you feel, but expecting others, who don’t agree, to stand by wordlessly while you go on a crusade is unrealistic. Maybe some feel that there’s an exception for the media, but in my mind it’s an obvious reaction to offending an entire group of people publicly. Is anyone really surprised that women (and men) were offended by the rant? I just don’t understand it.

I’m not trying to change the minds of those who agree with Bruce or Neyer. I’m simply asking that you try and see things from another perspective. Perhaps the biggest snafu Bruce made was not removing himself from the heat of the situation by issuing a genuine apology to those who he offended. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I believe in second chances, but only if you’ve owned up to what you’ve done. And in this case, it hasn’t happened (yet).

On a side note, as an Asian-American woman, and someone who has had to deal with some prejudices here and there, I don’t feel the burden of sexism and racism on a daily basis. Not to say they don’t exist in a real way, but I don’t feel weighed down by it, most of the time. Either I’m oblivious, or I haven’t had to deal with it too often, but I feel lucky that this hasn’t impacted my life or career in a truly tangible way (as far as I can tell). That being said, since I started writing about baseball a year ago, I’ve noticed double standards in sports that irk me. I’ve been accused of writing about things only because I find a player “hot,” been called “skankzilla,” (this is 100% true) and someone even told me that all I write about is rainbows. Breaking through unfair stereotypes will probably always be a reality for women in sports, but standing up against things like the Damon Bruce issue will hopefully help draw some much needed attention to the issue.

My last thought (and hopefully this will be put to bed soon) is that I truly do hope the outcome of this is not firing Damon Bruce. Extinguishing his voice on KNBR is only a small part of the solution. I’d rather the station address the issue head on and start a dialogue instead of pretending it didn’t happen by getting rid of Bruce.

Sorry for all the real talk on here lately. The offseason is rough.

Dear KNBR: A small request

8 Nov

I’m sure you guys have all heard about Damon Bruce’s rantings from yesterday’s show. If you haven’t, I urge you to check out the summaries posted on Awful Announcing and Bay Area Sports Guy. Just keep tissues or some gauze handy so you can make sure to wipe the blood from your ears after listening to the audio.

Bruce’s comments that were clearly misogynistic (and I almost never use that term) with some key quotes being:

This is guy’s stuff. This is men’s stuff. And I don’t expect women to understand men’s stuff anymore than they should expect me to be able to relate to labor pains.

I enjoy many of the women’s contributions to the sports—well that’s a lie [lauging]. I can’t even pretend that’s true. There are very few—a small handful—of women who are any good at this at all. That’s the truth. The amount of women talking in sports to the amount of women who have something to say is one of the most disproportionate ratios I’ve ever seen in my life. But here’s a message for all of them…All of this, all of this world of sports, especially the sport of football, has a setting. It’s set to men.

I’m willing to share my sandbox as long as you realize you’re in MY sandbox.

I’m sure the reaction Damon Bruce is seeking is extra ratings. I’m not entirely sure if he ACTUALLY feels this way or if he is trolling listeners and trying to get a reaction, but I think the former might be worse.

I don’t stick my nose into many issues of the political nature, but one thing I do take a stand for is equality. It sounds intense but I’m talking about the core fundamentals of the issue – that every person on this earth should generally be regarded with the same respect and standards – gay, straight, transgender, Mexican, Asian, German, Jewish, man, woman, fat, skinny – whatever. Being upset with the issue doesn’t make you a feminist – it makes you a person who is insulted by offensive statements. And that’s exactly what Bruce’s show was yesterday: offensive.

I wrote a letter to station manager/program director Lee Hammer today. I’ve discovered via numerous complaints to companies like Comcast and United Airlines that these notes should be short and to the point. A lot of you have been asking me to post my email, and here it is:

Hi Lee,

Happy Friday to you.
I wanted to reach out as I’m one of the (many) listeners that was taken aback by Damon Bruce’s rant against women on yesterday’s 1st hour segment.
I have listened to KNBR since I was sitting in the backseat of my father’s car and continue to enjoy hosts like Brian Murphy, Kate Scott, Ray Ratto, and Marty Lurie. I’ve even been a guest on Marty’s show a few times.
Unfortunately, the outlier for KNBR has become more obvious with yesterday’s show and Damon Bruce’s extremely offensive comments against both women and women writers. While sports is categorically a “mans” domain, I’m sure you know that the Giants fan base is in large part comprised of females. As the flagship station of the Giants, I’m hoping that something will be done to help remedy the relationship that Bruce has damaged to an otherwise insightful station.
Thanks for your attention on this matter.
Best,
Carmen
Let me be clear about something. I am not asking for Damon Bruce to be fired, or even suspended. I’m just asking for the issue to be addressed in some way. Bruce has a right to his opinion (however misguided I find them) but for there to be zero discussion or repercussions against the matter would be viewed as a silent endorsement from the station. As I pointed out in the letter, the Bay Area is chock full of female sports fans – I’m willing to bet more than most major cities. For them to ignore the issue entirely would be perceived as a slap in the face to fans who have supported the station and whether or not this actually affects the ratings, KNBR’s brand perception would most definitely be tainted. Deadspin has already picked up the topic nationally and I’m guessing no one at the station is looking for that type of publicity.

As a woman sports writer (albeit an amateur one), I’m hoping that one day there will be less surprise from the general masses when a woman is knowledgable about sports. The more smart writers we have out there, the more we all have to gain, no matter what gender they are.

If you feel the same, I encourage you to write to KNBR as well to voice your opinion. There will probably be no tangible outcome but it’s therapeutic and at least you know you you tried and said your piece.

Here’s where you can reach Lee Hammer: lee.hammer@cumulus.com

Sorry for the seriousness – I’ll post some weird GIFs later to reset the tone on this blog.

Some thoughts on Ryan Vogelsong

5 Nov

Ryan Vogelsong World Series Parade

The Giants have officially declined Ryan Vogelsong’s $6.5 MM option.

It was probably an obvious decision to most but I’m still in denial about the fact that Ryan Vogelsong may no longer be a San Francisco Giant. The deepest part of my fandom aches for one of the most inspirational players to ever wear a Giants uniform and I don’t think I’ll believe it until opening day of 2014.

As someone who loves the Giants, and loved the Giants well before Ryan Vogelsong became a factor in 2011, I’m genuinely disappointed in the decision to let Vogelsong walk. While his option may seem hefty to some, Andrew Baggarly pointed out that they paid Barry Zito even more just to walk away:

When you view it through that perspective, it’s all you can do to wonder how a move like this from the Giants is perceived by Vogelsong’s camp. Additionally, it seemed as though there wasn’t much going on in terms of negotiations or even discussions of Vogelsong returning for a lower base plus incentives, as many had speculated prior to the official announcement.

While I understand the Giants are looking at other options, a one-year contract at a lower base  would have been a relatively risk free move for the organization. During this time, the Giants would be able to allow him to compete for his job in spring training and prove that 2013 was just a weird anomaly of a short offseason, WBC fatigue, and a freak hand injury. Knowing that Vogelsong is a notoriously hard worker and extraordinarily determined (and that his track record shows one hell of a comeback), I don’t see this is a stretch.

As Vogelsong said at the end of this season in a textbook Vogelsong quote:

“I want to be back and hope they pick (the option) up. If they do, I’m going to be better next year. If they don’t, I’m going to be better next year.”

And hasn’t he earned the right to prove that he has it in him? Even at 37 years old, Vogelsong has proven that he’s tough as nails, resilient, and his good moments have far outweighed his bad.

Aside from the pitching factor, Vogelsong is also a great clubhouse guy and is loved by his teammates (Ryan won the Willie Mac Award in 2011 which is voted on my teammates) – not something to be overlooked when you’re working with a team like the Giants who rely heavily on chemistry and inspiration for some of their greatest successes.

But unfortunately, a baseball team and it’s decisions are not based on “intangibles”. As harsh as it is, baseball is a game of “what have you done for me lately” – the operative word there being “lately”. The Giants seem to be keen on exploring the free market and leaning on Vogelsong as a last resort – not exactly a flattering proposition for any major league ball player.

As a final thought, I’m going to allow myself to wear my heart on my sleeve for a moment and say candidly that Ryan Vogelsong’s story captivated me in a way that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. His journey humanized baseball beyond stats, salaries, and business decisions. He was hope in a season with no hope and he was undeniably inspirational. His tenacity translated into success and yet he never let his guard down or let the chip fall from his shoulder. He worked his ass off, and it always showed, no matter what the box score was.

There’s certainly a lot of talk out there on how baseball players are overpaid spoiled athletes. I’ll never deny that these guys are blessed to be doing what they love and getting heavily compensated for it. But I also like to take a step back to remember that all these players whose net worth is often  translated into numbers on a stat sheet are also humans who want to be happy, provide for their families, and succeed and be great at what they do. Despite all of the talk around money and Vogelsong’s future with the Giants, I think he truly just wanted to return to the city that gave him a second chance.

If Ryan Vogelsong is not returning to San Francisco, my only regret is that the fans didn’t get a chance to give him that standing ovation that he deserved. Vogelsong rarely took a moment to look up in the stands to see how many fans love and adore him. As a fan, I’m sorry I never got to thank him for what he’s done for the franchise.

Not sure what the ultimate outcome will be but in my book, Ryan Vogelsong will always be remembered as a great Giant and class-act.

My 2013 Postseason Picks

7 Oct

Brian-Wilson-Dodgers-BeardI spent today watching about 12 hours of baseball. I’m obviously a junkie for this sport but I was almost relieved to not have the Giants in the postseason. The guys would get to recuperate. I would get to save some money (for less important things, like my mortgage or my credit card payments). And I would not be spending the month of October perfecting the fetal position. Win-win, right?

Well, not really. It’s apparently just as taxing to root against a team as it is to root for a team. I think we all know the Dodgers are on the top of my “Ugh! WHY?” List but they’ve proven to be a formidable competitor. So how do I think everything will shake out? Let’s dig in:

NLDS: 

Cardinals over Pirates

The Cardinals are like a well-oiled machine when it comes to playoff baseball (well, except for one year in recent memory) – they have all the fundamentals of good baseball down pat, along with some stellar pitching, some defensive stand-outs, and a lot of good veteran hitters. I love the Pirates and their story, and it would be AWESOME if they could win it all, but I don’t think that will happen. I also don’t think they can beat the Dodgers.

Which brings me to my next pick

Dodgers over Braves (PS I wrote this before the Braves imploded – I swear this to you on my life)

The Braves are like a lesser version of the Texas Rangers – consistently one of the better teams in the regular season and then October rolls around and you wonder how a team like this ever made the playoffs. They get the postseason yips real hard and besides that, I do think the Dodgers are a better team then they are with a lot more depth to both their pitching rotation and their offense. See, I can be (somewhat) impartial.

ALDS 

A’s over Tigers

Because I want it to happen, okay? Whatever, do I really need a reason? Here’s one SONNY GRAY. Here’s another: JOSH DONALDSON. How about YOENIS? Here’s the last one: BAY AREA PRIDE.. #ANALYSIS

Red Sox over Rays

I do think that Boston is the best team out there right now. The Rays have some key players who can make a contribution but from what I’ve seen so far, they appear to be playing sloppy baseball. And you absolutely cannot play sloppy baseball against the Sox who will exploit all your deepest weakness through an offensive bludgeoning. This one is the most no-brainer pick I think I have. And just cause I said that, Tampa Bay will probably prove me wrong.

NLCS

Cardinals over Dodgers

Mostly because if they don’t win, I will be sad. But also because I think while the Dodgers are playing with A LOT of confidence, they don’t have the momentum to carry them through a 7 game series with a team who is as seasoned as they come. I also think Mike Matheny is a smarter and better manager than Don Mattingly and will out maneuver him when reaching for the pennant he missed out on last year. Not sure how Mattingly will shuffle the pitching rotation either since Clayton Kershaw pitched game 4 of the NLDS and maybe short rest will prove to be a disadvantage to even a guy as crazy talented as Kershaw.  Lastly, the Cardinals have more depth of experience and in the postseason, that’s huge. I can see this going down to Game 7 but ultimately, I see the Red Birds walking away with this one.

ALCS

Red Sox over A’s

Sorry Oakland. I do love you, but I think Boston is unstoppable. Their line up looks like a fantasy team line up with David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino.. that’s a tough lineup to get through. The A’s definitely have some superbly talented hitters and pitchers but at the end of the day, the Red Sox are just a better team. Of course, I’m not as familiar with the American League, but from the games I’ve seen this season, I’ll take the Red Sox, all the way.

World Series 

Red Sox over Cardinals

Aside from all the points I made above about Boston being the best team out there, the American league has home field advantage as well. I think the Cardinals will have less rest as they’ll probably go all 7 against the Dodgers, whereas I can see Boston clinching in 5 or 6. Little details and plan baseball intuition tells me that the Red Sox will take home the ring this year.

There you have it – my picks this year. Not exactly scientific, but do you really need another stats based recap of picks? Nah, that’s boring.

Anyone have any gut feelings on who they think will take home the cheddar?

What a year.

4 Oct

About MeI’m reviving the blog.

Ironically, I’m doing so after the Giants have finished their season. I guess I have a lot more free time now that I’m not screaming at my television or begging the Giants to score some runs. I kid. But really, this blog has been very neglected and I’m ready to change that.

The first post I’ve written since June is going to be an important one. It’s my post to thank the people who’ve supported me this season whether it be in person at the Public House, the people who follow me on Twitter, the loyal readers of Bay Area Sports Guy, or the people who called in or listened to me babble about the sport I love on KNBR. Without you, I’m just a rambling cat lady with too much time on her hands. Your support means the world to me.

After the World Series win last year, I was brimming with love for the team I’ve grown up rooting for. More so, I felt a connection with the community that logs on to Twitter every night to talk about baseball. Whether it was NLDS Game 2 (where I tweeted that I had probably eaten my last garlic fry of the season) or when the confetti was raining down on us on Market Street, you guys have always been there, making baseball FUN. And that’s what it’s supposed to be, right? FUN (and also, frustrating).

This is the year I told myself I would nut up and stop being intimidated by all the intelligent baseball people I follow on a daily basis. Sabermetricians. Bloggers I’ve been reading for years. Beat writers who are the authors of the newspapers I have framed and hanging on my wall at home. And just really SMART fans that really know what they are talking about. And that’s the reason I started writing this year as opposed to years ago. Too scared to put my voice out there and be judged and tested for my knowledge of the game. 

Sure I get some weird, mean comments sometimes – my favorite of the year was being called a #Skankzilla – that one was awesome. But I can’t tell you how fun it’s been making GIFs and laughing about them with everyone online. I don’t think I could go back to not using Twitter while watching a game or not doing GIF roundups every week. It’s become as crucial to me as balls and strikes are to the game of baseball. Without all of that, it just wouldn’t work.

This year has been incredible for me as both a writer and a fan. As a fan, I had the opportunity to hug Andres Torres and thank him for 2010.  I got to give Barry Zito a standing ovation at his last game as a Giant. I got to experience the joy of a Tim Lincecum no-hitter. Feel the exuberance of an inside-the-park home run from Angel Pagan. And I even got to give Dave Flemming a giant gangsterized version of his own head.

As a writer, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to some of the top prospects down in San Jose who will probably be the next generation of farm-grown stars. I got to interview Nicole Vogelsong about one of my favorite Giants of all time — and got to know a wonderful friend at the same time. My proudest moment of all had to have been when my Machi/Mijares fart GIF was on Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Deadspin, and a handful of other publications I know and love. I mean, if that wasn’t worth a college education, I don’t know what would is. Aside from that, I think I’ve finally processed how to spell Brandon Belt’s hometown with googling it (NACOGDOCHES). All in all, this season has been pretty great for me personally.

So to wave goodbye to the Giants 2013 season and to say hello to the revival of this blog, here are some pictures I took from the 32 games I attended this year.

Brandon Belt takes a stretch during spring training

Brandon-Belt-Spring-Training-Stretch

Madison Bumgarner at Spring Training through a fish-eye lens

Madison-Bumgarner-Fisheye-Spring-Training

 Cody Ross in a Diamondbacks uniform gets a warm welcome from Giants fans in Scottsdale

Cody-Ross-Spring-Training-Diamondbacks

Angel Pagan and Santiago Casilla face off in the World Baseball Classic

IMG_0412

Raising the 2013 Championship Flag

Opening-Weekend-Raising-Flag

2012 MVP Buster Posey tips his hat to the crowd

Buster-Posey-MVP-Opening-Weekend

The most perfect family. ‘MERICA.

Posey-Family-Opening-Weekend

Sergio Romo loving his new 2012 World Series Ring

Serigo-Romo-Larry-Baer-Opening-Weekend-Rings

The spectacle that was Opening Weekend

Opening-Weekend-Celebration

The Seagulls are a huge part of the season. Here they are getting very bold.

Seagulls

Brandon Crawford

Brandon-Crawford-2013

Brandon Belt takes a breather in the Big Apple

Brandon-Belt-Citifield

George Kontos warming up at Citifield

George-Kontos-Citifield

Hunter Pence chats with a young fan on my favorite Sunday tradition at AT&T

Hunter-Pence-Young-Fan-Autograph-Sundays

The infielders hanging out while the bullpen warms up

Last-Weekend-Giants-Group

Barry Zito takes the mound for the last time as a Giant

Barry-Zito-last-mound-takes-the-ball

More pictures of Barry Zito’s last Giants appearance

Barry-Zito-Last-Pitching

Barry Zito takes a well-deserved curtain call

Barry-Zito-Curtain-Call

More of Barry Zito’s Curtain Call

Barry-Zito-Curtain-Call-2

I love how happy Zito looks here

Barry-Zito-Curtain-Call-3

The infielders watching Blanco get carried off the field after a scary collision with Angel Pagan
Infielders-Last-Game

Barry Zito thanks the fans
Barry-Zito-Ryan-Vogelsong

I had a ton of photos but tried to pick a good variety. Hopefully this is a good way to get back into writing on this thing. Keep checking back for more content. I’ll also still be writing at Bay Area Sports Guy so let’s make this offseason go by quickly together.

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