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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Giants’

Image of Willie McCovey

“Stretch”

Two days ago, on Halloween, the world lost one of the true gentlemen of sports history:  Willie Lee McCovey.  Nicknamed “Mac”, “Big Mac”, and (my personal favorite) “Stretch”, McCovey was a first baseman who defined the position for me as a child.  He played for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball for 19 of his 22 seasons in the majors.
My earliest memory of ANY sports event was attending a baseball game as a youth at Candlestick Park and seeing McCovey, Willie Mays, and Juan Marichal in person.  My mom and I sat high in the upper deck, underneath the shell which used to line the stadium.  I don’t recall if the Giants won the game or much else about the game except – Marichal’s high-kick pitching delivery style, Mays hit a home run and “Stretch” made a terrific catch at first base.  It wasn’t a high catch (as shown in the image above).  It was low, near the ground and McCovey had to practically do the splits to make the catch.
It seems “funny” to think of this, but imagine you are Willie Mays – arguably the greatest baseball player of all time and in the top five career home run hitters in history and you bat third in the order because the guy (Willie McCovey) batting fourth, behind you, has more power…
None of the above speaks to the true greatness of the man, himself.  It is better to think of Willie McCovey this way:  his last active year was 1980.  That same year, the Giants retired his jersey number (44) and began awarding “The Willie Mac Award” which is given to the team’s most inspirational player that year, as voted on by the team’s players, coaches, training staff, and (just recently included) fans.  Finally, in 1986, in his first year of eligibility, Willie McCovey was voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
R.I.P “Stretch”.  And thanks for the childhood memories…
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The San Francisco Giants stormed to a Game 5 victory winning 5 runs to 0 on the complete game shutout pitched by their ace Madison Bumgarner!  In a golden age for Giants baseball, which seems to be hosting a handful of potential hall-of-famers – MadBum is emerging as one of the strongest of all.  Across three World Series (2010, 2012, and now 2014), Bumgarner has now won four games in four opportunities with a combined score of 1 run allowed in all four games!  He now has the lowest runs allowed average (career) in World Series history for pitchers who’ve thrown more than 20 innings.
But now the Giants face a tough test of going into Kansas City having to win one of the last two games.  The odds are in their (the Giants) favor.  Historically, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the Series 68% of the time (.683), but it would have been so much more satisfying to have swept the Royals at home in S.F.  Still, the main thing is to keep the pressure on and try to take Game 6.  We don’t want a let down to give the Royals (and their fans) hope for a Game 7.
So now it’s time for the team to get a good night’s sleep and board a long flight to K.C. tomorrow for the Tuesday Game 6…   (And for those of you who’ve lost track: my prediction was Giants win Series 4 Games to 2.)   Go Giants!!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
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Well, it looks like we’re in for one heck of a World Series!!  In what can only be politely called a “collapse” by their bullpen, the Giants gave up five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to the Royals and Kansas City never looked back rolling to a 7 to 2 victory.
The Royals pitching, particularly the bullpen, looks formidable with everyone throwing heat in the 95+ mph range and off-speed in the low 90’s.  By comparison, low 90’s are what the Giants were throwing as their top end pitches.
The disappointment of the game was a squandered first inning, lead off home run by Gregor Blanco.  It was a thing of beauty.  We touched the Royal’s starting pitcher (Yordano Ventura) just as frequently as they got to our starter, but in the end, Ventrua outlasted Jake Peavy and the K.C. bullpen was “all that and a bag of chips”.   Real deal…
So, the Giants leave for home with doubts and the Royals leave for San Francisco with hope.  There is a saying in sports that you can’t have a great Series until both teams have lost a game at home.  Now we find out if the Royals can turn the 2014 Series into a great Series.  The next three games are in S.F.  I’m still predicting a 6 game, 4 to 2 victory by the Giants.
But it’s back to being interesting…
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
By the way, this post is my 1,901th post – not counting pages.  What a long, strange trip it’s been…  I’m looking forward to 2,000.  🙂
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The San Francisco Giants closed out the National League Championship Series (NLCS) by 4 wins to 1 with a 6 to 3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on a three run, walk-off home run!!  Wow!!

2014 National League Championship Cap

2014 National League Championship Cap

2014 NLCS S.F. Giants T-Shirt

2014 NLCS S.F. Giants T-Shirt

Unbelievable!  The Giants start the World Series on Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals.  Format: 2-3-2; with the first two played in Kansas City by virtue of the American League victory in the All-Star Game earlier this year.  If we manage to steal one of the games back there – watch out!!
I predict this will be our fourth playoff series where we are the underdogs.  We’ve beaten the favored Pittsburgh Pirates. We’ve beaten the heavily favored Washington Nationals.  And now, we’ve beaten the slightly favored St. Louis Cardinals.  Based on the head to head competition this year, where the Royals swept the Giants in three games in K.C. back in August, a realistic person would have to give the Royals a definite edge.  They are a very good team which seems to be peaking at just the right time.  We seem to be a team which gets by on mostly smoke and mirrors.  Their strengths (power, speed at base running/stealing, and a lock down bullpen) all play to our weaknesses.  But, I still like our chances.  Once we bring them back to our ball park, their pitchers will have to hit.  They won’t be used to it and we’ll be able to claw our way back into the series.  I’m predicting a six game, 4-2 World Series win by the boys in Orange & Black.  Go Giants!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
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