Two Teams Headed for the Same Destiny

Giants fans and Rangers fans are thinking the same thing right now, “This is the year”. The Rangers have never been to the World Series. The Giants have not won a World Series since 1954, when the franchise was still located in New York. 

The Rangers have a multitude of amazing storylines that sentimental types will be drawn to. The most incredible of those stories being Josh Hamilton. A former alcoholic and drug addict, Hamilton’s life was spinning out of control, and his baseball career was an afterthought. He doesn’t have a credit card, doesn’t allow himself to carry large amounts of cash, and like all recovering addicts, has a constant struggle with his former addictions. On Friday, he was named the ALCS Most Valuable Player. Manager Ron Washington admitted to cocaine use during the 2009 season and wasn’t sure if he would be managing this year. Rangers ace Cliff Lee was traded mid-season from the struggling SeattGiants fans and Rangers fans are thinking the same thing right now, “This is the year”. The Rangers have never been to the World Series. The Giants have not won a World Series since 1954, when the franchise was still located in New York.   The Rangers havle Mariners, and has had post-season dominance unlike any other pitcher in history. His aging catcher Bengie Molina was traded mid-season to the Rangers from the NL Pennant winning San Francisco Giants to bring up rookie superstar Buster Posey.

The Giants have their fair share of stories as well. This team of misfits and cast aways somehow banded together to win an NL pennant. Outfielder Cody Ross was released by the Florida Marlins mid-season, and the Giants acquired him primarily to prevent him from going to then NL West leading San Diego Padres. (The Philadelphia Phillies also attempted to claim Ross, but the the Giants had priority with the lesser record.) Ross’ dream growing up was to be a Rodeo Clown, but Saturday night, he won the NLCS Most Valuable Player. At the beginning of the year, many fans clamored for Manager Bruce Bochy and General Manager Brian Sabean to be let go after last year’s disappointing season. Aubrey Huff signed with the Giants for $3,000,000 after not receiving offers from any other team. He has also worn a red “rally thong” since August 30. Closer Brian Wilson has grown a forest on his face. Tim Lincecum has grown a forest on his head.

The Rangers and their $55,00,000 payroll defeated the star studded 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees and their $206,000,000 payroll in six games. The Giants and their group of cast offs, beards, and thongs defeated heavy favorite and back to back NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies in six games as well.

It’s Cliff Lee versus Tim Lincecum. It’s Buster Posey versus Bengie Molina. It’s two teams that have never won it all, and two teams that nobody picked to get this far. But only one of these teams will win 4 more games and be remembered as the 2010 World Series Champion. It’s been a dream run for both of these teams, but for one team the dream will soon end. They will wake up and feel the heartbreak of elimination, of an ended season, of being so close, but unable to win it all. The winner simply won’t wake up from that dream. Their team will be immortalized in their city as the one that finally brought a World Series home. Hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions will be on hand for the championship parade that their city has never seen.

So what happens when two teams are headed for what seems to be the same destiny clash in the World Series? We’re about to find out. May the better team win.

Baseball Opening Day is here! Check-in to FanPulse for a chance to win an MLB.com GC and an MLB Jersey!

The sights and sounds of opening day baseball are unlike that of any other sport. Opening Day baseball is a day of celebration, a day to skip school or work, where you head out to the ball park and see your favorite team play America’s past-time. Celebrate the start of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day with FanPulse and our two giveaways!

Opening Day Giveaway: If 50 fans check-in to a game Monday April 5, a random fan checked-in to that game will receive a $50 gift card to MLB.com! But there’s more…If 100 people check in to a game, we will increase the value up to a $100 gift certificate! So make sure you invite all your friends to join to get the best prizes, and enjoy MLB Opening Day 2010!

Most Dedicated Fan: The fan with the most total check-ins from April 5 to April 30 will receive a baseball jersey for the team of their choice. Fans can check-in to any or all of the games each day to increase their check-ins and be the Most Dedicated Fan. 

To check-in to a game just head to FanPulse and check-in to the games in the MLB section. Good luck, and we hope to enjoy a great season of baseball with all of you!

Source: The Official FanPulse Blog

Hope in 2010 – An open letter to Giants Fans

Dear Giants Fans,
What are your hopes for the 2010 Giants?
Keep in mind that the San Francisco Giants have never won a World Series. They have made a total of 3 World Series appearances since moving to San Francisco (1962, 1989, and 2002), and have not been to the playoffs since 2003. Regardless of the bleak history, each year when spring training comes around, I wonder if this that year will finally be the year that the San Francisco Giants finally win a World Series.
This year (as with most years) I believe that the Giants have a legitimate chance to see October baseball. Are my expectations too high of the current roster? Reading many fan comments on Giants articles, certain fans seem to be very displeased with the off season moves made by the Giants front office. Certain fans go through the lineup hitter by hitter explaining why the team is too weak and will not make the playoffs. The opposite may be a fan like myself and say that the Giants were very close to making the playoffs last year and with the additions that they have made, I think they have just as good if not a better chance to be in the playoffs than last year. 
Do I think Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa, and Aubrey Huff are the big bats that the Giants have so desperately needed since the days of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent? No, but I believe that they will be an improvement over the opening day roster of last years club that finished just four games out of a Wildcard berth. If the solid players of last year perform up to their standard, and the new hitters can put in decent numbers, 2010 will be an interesting season for the Giants.
Perhaps I’m way off base, perhaps these new players will be exactly what the some “fans” are predicting: too old, too slow, and not enough hitting. Nonetheless, THIS Giants fan has hope that something special *might* happen in 2010. Isn’t that what being a sports fan is all about?
Sincerely,
Jon Rasty

Zito Plunks Fielder on Behalf of all Teams Against Excessive Celebration

“Barry Zito wasted little time doing the deed.

In the first inning of today’s Cactus League game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Zito hit Prince Fielder in the back with his first pitch in apparent retaliation for Fielder’s staged “bowling pin” celebration after his homer ended a Sept. 6 game in Milwaukee.” — Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle



Retaliation is a funny thing in baseball. Everybody knew what happened in that September 6 12 inning game last year. Everybody knew that the Giants would be throwing at Prince Fielder today. Then it happened, because that is the culture of baseball, and that is how the game is played. What many will perceive as Zito and the Giants retaliating on Fielder (and that is true), a much bigger reality is revealed. Every team other than the Milwaukee Brewers was hoping that Fielder would get plunked today. And I’m sure they were hoping that it would have been someone that would throw harder than Barry Zito’s 85mph fastball, but as the first pitcher, the responsibility fell into Zito’s hands to make a statement.

It was a statement on behalf of all teams in the majors that the kind of choreographed celebration that he created would not be allowed without recourse. Baseball players have such a unique set of unwritten rules than other sports when it comes to celebration.  In football for example, you have players like Chad Ochocinco constantly pushing the limits and attracting attention. Baseball on the other hand has a culture where even mild celebration such as admiring a home run too long, or running to slow around the bases is construed as unsportsmanlike. 

Fielder’s celebration undoubtedly fell into the category of unsportsmanlike in baseball’s culture. The next time he or any other player wants to create another massive premeditated celebration, he should think twice. Zito is not the only pitcher that would have retaliated by hitting the batter. Every single pitcher in baseball who wants to earn the respect of their teammates and fellow players would have done the same. But the next celebrator might not be so fortunate to have an 85mph thrown at him, and maybe it will be thrown at a target a little higher than their back.

Spring Training 2010 — What to do in Arizona

As March draws near, the reality of Spring Training baseball settles in. The warmth of the hot Arizona sun, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of the crack of the bat, and the roar of the crowd. Spring Training is where baseball fiends itching for their fix take some time off work to watch baseball in the desert.

Sadly, I”ve only experienced one Spring Training game even though I went to school in Arizona for four years. Granted The University of Arizona in Tucson was about two hours away from the Giants facility in Scottsdale, but I definitely regret not being able to make it to more Spring Training games. If you’re planning on heading down this year, allow me to give you some tips from someone who has lived through the desert heat:

Yes, it is that hot
It is difficult to describe how the heat actually feels at the ballpark. If you’re seats are not under the shade, you will be toasting. If you aren’t a person that doesn’t like the heat, try and get seats that are covered, or else you will be very uncomfortable the entire game.

Things to Bring

Sunscreen
Giants Hat
Lots of Water
Baseball Glove
More Water
Sunglasses
Portable Fan/Spray Bottle — I’ve seen people use this hybrid extensively for a splash of cool water and a constant ‘wind’. Doesn’t compare to the breezes of AT&T park, but it will do.

Places to Go in the Phoenix Metro
For the 21+ crowd, Tempe Arizona is the home to Arizona State University, and Mill Ave has a plethora of bars and clubs for a fun nightlife.

Scottsdale Mall – comparable to Valley Fair mall in the South Bay, but much larger. Great place to hang out after a game. You will see many a Giants fan here.

If you’re looking for a really nice place to eat, I would suggest Kai in Chandler, Arizona. It is one of the most unique and incredible dining experiences you can ever have. The menu is created from local ingredients and influenced by Native American cuisine. It has won both the AAA 5 Diamond and the Mobil 3 Star awards. Granted, it is very pricey but if you’re a foodie, well worth the money.

Well, this seems to be all that I can think of at the moment, if anything comes back to me, I’ll be sure to add to this list. As a final reminder, be sure to keep hydrated. I’m sure that people will tell you this over and over, but the heat can be very punishing on the body and nothing will feel better than a nice cool glass of water.

Have fun all of you going, I envy you.

Tim Lincecum and Giants Avoid Arbitration

Giants fans breathed a collective sigh of relief today when they came to terms for a 2 year agreement with Tim Lincecum. Various newspapers are reporting a $8M for 2010, $13M for 2011, and a $2M signing bonus. So there you go, Giants fans can stop stressing out about whether his feelings will get hurt, if he will leave in 2014 because of not getting paid in 2010, etc. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely happy for Lincecum that he’s getting his very overdue raise, but I think that some Giants fans were overreacting just a bit. Glad we can put this behind us and talk about the game of baseball instead of the business side. 5 days until pitchers and catchers report!

Rich Aurilia to be a Giants Analyst for CSN Bay Area

Fantastic news that Rich Aurilia, fan favorite of Giants fans will be on CSN Bay Area’s pre and post-game live for Giants games. I saw him as an off-season analyst a couple times on Chronicle Live and knew that he had a career going in broadcasting. A natural at, Aurilia talks smooth and convincing. He will definitely capture the attention of viewers, and I look forward to seeing him and hearing his input.

Also I guess this means that JT Snow will no longer be part of the production, which is a pretty good decision in my opinion. As much as I liked JT as a player, broadcasting just wasn’t the right fit for him.
8 Days until pitchers and catchers report!

Giants Fanfest 2010

My first fanfest was an incredible experience. I would love to make a more complete recollection sometime but I’m exhausted at the moment. This won’t have pictures, just quick a recap of what happened.

I didn’t sleep until 1:30am, waking up promptly at 6:00am.
Train left San Jose at 7:00am and arrived at 4th and King at 8:34 am to a semi-large crowd. We stood in line until 10:00am when the gates opened. I have yet to eat any food and have been awake since 6:00am
We rush to the 3rd base side tent (1st base had Tim Lincecum, which we were unaware of) receiving autographs from Andres Torres, Sergio Romo, Eugenio Velez, and Jonathan Sanchez.
We became aware of Lincecum’s location and realized that the line for his booth was approximately 4 miles long. 
We went upstairs to the club level Where Vida Blue,  Roberto Kelly, Shawn Dunston, and someone else were signing autographs. They left and were replaced by Brian Wilson, Mark DeRosa, and Barry Zito. To our disappointment, both of them left when we were about 10 people away from the front of the line. To our delight, they were replaced by Madison Bumgarner and Will Clark! It is 12:57 and we need to be at the Giants Dugout by 1:00PM for the SF Giants TweetUp tour. 
We run down the ramps all the way outside of the stadium meet the group at 1:00 and get a tour of the Executive Offices, television broadcast booth, control room, and radio broadcast booth. 
Finally, I eat, devouring chicken strips and garlic fries paired with an anchor steam bear, something exclusive to the club level, as far as I know.
We walk down to the dirt field area in center field and play some catch in center field. We then walked up to the arcade to scope out our seats for the April 23 Snuggie Promo day. We watch from the arcade as Tim Lincecum is interviewed.
The seagulls came and white stuff was flying everywhere.
We walked back down onto the field to sit in the dugout club where we saw Emmanuel Burris get mobbed for autographs. Fanfest was concluded with us watching Buster Posey be interviewed by The Razor and Mr. T.
We went to the Giants Dugout Store where there was mobs of people looking to buy Giants gear, but left empty handed. 
Off to NOVA, a small bar where we had a couple more Anchor Steams to cap off an extremely tiring day. 
Train left 4th and King at 5:15pm, arriving in San Jose at 6:50pm. My feet and legs are sore, my eyes are tired, and I’m completely beat. Goodnight.
PS. Pictures and more thorough update will be posted on http://rasty.tumblr.com

Season Tickets, Someday…

I’m completely wired at the moment after drinking a having a large caramel macchiato. I haven’t had a caffeinated drink in a LONG time and it’s really kicking in now. On top of that, I’m very excited for my first ever Giants Fanfest tomorrow. Waking up around 6AM and taking the first train out of San Jose at 7AM. Hopefully the line won’t be too long when I get to the park around 8:40AM in the morning.

Just in the past 48 hours or so I’ve found MLBlogs and used twitter to find other Giants fas as obsessed as I am. I’ve also become thoroughly jealous of those of you how are lucky enough to A) Live in San Francisco and B) Own season tickets. I’m jealous looking at all these blogs and twitters of people that get to spend time meeting players, talking to them, taking pics with them, etc. 
It’s always been a dream of mine to live in San Francisco in one of those condos right next to AT&T park, but damn that’s a pipe dream away at the moment. First I need to pass my CPA exams, then get a job, then move out. At least season tickets aren’t that expensive…$1300 for left field bleachers is very reasonable and those just happen to be my favorite seats in the park. I love being in the area with the rowdy fans heckling at the opposing left fielder. On a great day there might be a lone dodgers fan walking around wearing the wrong colors. The vulgarity and mob mentality of the bleachers is something that isn’t experienced anywhere else I’ve sat in AT&T park and I want to have permanent seats there. I would probably end up trying to find someone to split with because there’s no way I would be able to make anything close to 81 home games, even though I would want to.
One of the main issues that is preventing me from getting season tickets now is that I live in South San Jose, and the train commute of over an hour home from the ball park is brutal, not to mention that it would cost almost $20 per game for a round trip ticket + parking. The other main issue is of course, that I don’t have $1300 or a job for that matter. Oh well, first things first: Pass CPA Exams, Get a job…right.

Congratulations, Jon Miller

Baseball on the radio is something that other sports just can’t relate to these days. There’s something about baseball that makes it so good on the radio…the sound of the bat, the sound of the crowd, and the announcers. The Giants are fortunate to have some of the best announcers in the game.

I remember last year I was explaining to someone what made Jon Miller so good, but I couldn’t quantify exactly what it was. So I looked him up on Wikipedia and found two incredible calls that he made that will always ring out as two of my favorite of all time.
Three and two to Bonds. Everybody standing here at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. An armada of nautical craft gathered in McCovey Cove beyond the right field wall. Bonds one home run away from history. (crack of the bat) AND HE SWINGS, AND THERE’S A LONG ONE DEEP INTO RIGHT CENTER FIELD, WAY BACK THERE, IT’S GONE!!! A HOME RUN! Into the center field bleachers to the left of the 421 foot marker. An extraordinary shot to the deepest part of the yard! And Barry Bonds with 756 home runs, he has hit more home runs than anyone who has ever played the game!”

Just reading this quote I can hear Miller’s voice, his excitement, and I feel like I am seeing the ball fly out into death valley. This was just a fantastic and historic call that will always be remembered.

And then there was this.

I remember this day and just remember having the EXACT same expression as Felipe Alou. Head in my hands in disgust.

One of my goals this year is to get a cheap portable AM radio so that I can listen to the games when I am in attendance. I hope Jon Miller stays with the Giants forever. He is the next in line of a historic duo of Giants broadcasters in Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons and without a doubt deserves to be the recipient of the prestigious Ford C. Frick award. Congratulations Jon.
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